Category: Women’s Ministry

A LIFE WORTH LIVING

kathylarkman,
LESLEY NEW PHOTO

LESLEY GRINDROD, CONTRIBUTOR FOR TODAY’S BLOG POST 

Hey sisters!
I’m writing this little blog on 16th September – a date I’ll always consider the very worst day of my life. Seven years ago today my dear son Jonathan’s life in this world came to a very sudden, completely unexpected end. He was 39, healthy, successful, full of fun, dreams and ambitions, with everything to live for. As my shattered brain tried to come to terms with the numbing shock, grief, and unbearable sense of loss I was convinced my life would never be worth living again.

So it seems more than coincidence that the verses drawing my eye this morning as I read through this month’s study passage were Colossians 1:11-12. In the Message translation it says “…We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength that God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy…”

Wait …. What? Strength to not only endure the unendurable – but that spills over into JOY? Is Paul really saying that we can expect joy even in times of unthinkable sorrow, pain and difficulty? I follow my Bible reference to James 1:2 “…..when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy!” (NLT) And then I remember Paul’s exhortation in Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord AWAYS. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
It’s the demanding of my own will that smothers out joy. My selfish ‘old nature’ that cries “It’s not fair. Why did You let this happen, God?” Eddie covered this topic so beautifully on Sunday morning when he taught on the Lord’s Prayer …. “Your will be done…”

Dare I demand what I think I deserve – a life with no bereavement, no sorrow, no pain? What do I really deserve? It’s only as I bow the knee to His Lordship, only in accepting that even the air I breathe is a gift from Him; that I start to understand the greatest joy is the joy of acquiescing to His will. That my desire to protect my joy at all costs is the exact force that kills it!

“Your will be done…” This is the fight for true joy – releasing my will to receive His, and with it more inner, lasting joy than this human heart can hold.
Yes, I still feel the gut-wrenching pain of grief and loss as I remember my boy today. But while I may not feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving. Yes, there have been tears today – many tears – but over the years I’ve learnt that joy doesn’t negate these emotions – it transcends them! And as I surrender to Him, it’s His joy imparted to me that covers my hurt, soothes my pain and provides all the strength I need to stand tall for the long haul, endure the unendurable and live a life that is still truly worth living!

LIFE WORTH LIVING

ROOTED: STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

kathylarkman,

colossiansTree[5971]As we get back into the swing of our school diaries, routines, and church life, I want to encourage you to save the date for this year’s first women’s all-age bible study! It begins Monday, 30 September at 7:30 in the CBC church hall. We meet once a month on the last Monday of each month.

We are studying Colossians which is titled “Rooted.” Sharon Durant has provided our first bible study, which is on the Grace Place Blog, as well as hard copies at CBC and COTG.

Another component of the women’s bible study is one-on-one meetings, also known as study buddy time. The idea is to do the provided bible study together.
God has given us his Word but also each other. We are able to learn from each other, to be challenged and spurred on by each other, and to pray for each other.
This one-to-one element brings these two gifts of God together in a simple and powerful way: two people reading the Bible together, helping each other to see what God is saying there, and praying for each other that you will obey what you hear.

For more information, the study buddy guidelines are on Grace Place blog, and hard copies at CBC and COTG.
And If you don’t have a study buddy, please see Anne Holmes!
Have a great week!

REFLECTION OF OUR BIG GOD

kathylarkman,
VICKY PHOTO

VICKY STEPHENSON, Contributor for today’s blog post

Going on holiday what must you not forget to pack?? pants? toothbrush? God?

How about a staycation, think easy meals, friends over, allow kids to watch films and stay up late, structured quiet times?

I understand this might just me be but I have realised over the last few years that I have been treating God like another term time activity one I can take a break from during the holidays. As ever I have realised that what I know to be true and what I say to others is not lived out in my actions.

Is it that I think my discipleship is something to pick up and put down when convenient or is that my vision of God does not include a God of the holidays? Or more worryingly, am I stuck with an image of an overbearing, strict, task focused, joy hating Father God for whom I have to earn my salvation by performing a strict task list, so occasionally I need a break from Him?

Why do I believe that God is with me when I am studying and preparing life group studies but He is not interested in me sitting outside in the sunshine chatting to the kids?
Why do I feel that “Christian stuff” bible reading, meeting up with people, praying is such a chore I need a holiday from it?

As with most problems in Christian living it all stems from a misunderstanding of who God is. Our God is a great big God (to quote a well known song!) which means he is at the beach with you whether you packed him or not! As we saw in John, Jesus had a beach barbecue! God is for us not against us. He does not hand out annual leave and then count the hours to make sure you don’t enjoy yourself too much.
When you are out enjoying nature in the sunshine He is with with you surveying all he has made and saying it is good, it is a glimpse of what is to come when all creation is renewed. The sunburn we may experience is a sign of the fallen nature of this world but we can have certain hope that God will renew his creation, then we can enjoy the Isaiah 40sunshine without burning or having to wear sunscreen (at least that is my prayer).

Life has different rhythms and it might be right for life groups or bible studies to have breaks for holidays but what I need to remember is that this doesn’t mean I just put God on the shelf until it starts up again. I should use the time differently, praying whilst out walking and splashing in the waves or even praising God whilst I have a lie in.

Sometimes it is not a break but a change which can help you renew your sense of God and help you come back to your first love. This summer we were able to go to St Davids Cathedral and join in a bilingual communion service. Hearing “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God almighty who was and is and is to come” sang in Welsh in such a magnificent space was so different to our usual Sunday mornings; so out of my comfort zone that it jolted me into a new awareness of the awesomeness and majesty of God and refreshed my soul.

So you don’t need to pack God as He is already there but do be ready to see Him at work.

SCHOOL IS FAST APPROACHING!

kathylarkman,
Kathy Larkman

Kathy Larkman, contributor for today’s blog post

I only have to go to my email inbox to know that the new school year is around the corner! I have been inundated with a plethora of emails regarding different church rotas and upcoming events. Bring it on!

I am one who loves the changes of season, changes of schedule, new adventures- and the beginning of a school year is no different. Of course, I am in the lovely position of not having any children in school in my season of life. But I am happy to cheer you all in prayer who have this remarkable privilege and responsibility of parenting!

But I digress….

The start of school is a sign of new beginnings: New experiences. New challenges. New adventures. New teachers. New friendships. Renewing old friendships– and as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are given a wider mentality about these new seasons.

We have heard it said many times in different ways: “What does God want me to do this year?” or, “What is God’s will for me as I begin this new season?” I have heard it said that a better question to ask God is “What do you want me to be?” As followers of Christ this question makes more sense. You see, God is more concerned with who you are than what you do.

His will for us as His “image bearers” (Genesis 1:27) is “being transformed into His image..which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) Jerry Bridges says so aptly, “Christlikeness is God’s goal for all those who trust in Christ, and that should be our goal also.”

PSALMS 25I want to encourage you, and please encourage me too-instead of asking God “What should I do,” let us humbly ask the Lord daily in prayer, “Please help me to submit to you as Your image bearer to your transforming work in me. Show me your ways Lord and teach me your paths, lead me into your truth…so that I may be a reflection of You more everyday.”

God will answer our prayers as we seek His face. And the “to do’s” of our lives will fall into place…. one day at a time.

THINK ABOUT IT…

kathylarkman,

Paul Tripp“If you’re God’s child, the gospel isn’t an aspect of your life, it IS your life; that is, it is the window through which you look at everything.” Paul Tripp 

Short Term Mission: Day 5

kathylarkman,

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT

As you read this, our short term missions team is on Day 5 in growing in Christ as we serve Him. Tomorrow is our last day, and we thank you for your continued prayers.

As our team have been considering our discipleship and service under the Lordship of our Jesus Christ, we realize that our church family is an integral partnership in all of this. Although our journey in Christ is very personal, it isn’t private. Community is integral in the work of discipleship. As we as a missions team contemplate in Africa,  I also encourage you to do the same.  Is there someone you can come alongside this week in Christ? What are some ways that we can do this as individuals church familyand as a church family?

My prayer for us is Paul’s prayer to the church: May “our love overflow more and more, and that we will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding in what really matters, so that we may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May we always be filled with the fruit of our salvation- the righteous character produced in our lives by Jesus Christ- for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” Amen  

See you soon!

WHO ARE YOUR FRIENDS?

kathylarkman,

 

_MG_9161_2015

Sharon Durant, contributor for today’s blog

A few years ago, someone asked me that question. I mentally reviewed my friends — people who grew up on my street, people I was at school with, university, people I worked with, people I saw at the children’s play dates. I know a lot of people! But trying to think of a friend, a true friend, who walks shoulder to shoulder with me in Christ, who reliably keeps in touch and selflessly keeps on loving me and giving me truth? At that moment in my life, I had one.

To my shame, my list of ‘one’ didn’t even include the Lord Jesus! Since I was asked that question, God’s been taking me on a journey of what it means to HAVE friends and what it means to BE a friend. I’ve found two amazing places for friends:

1) Christ! Jesus himself commented that no one has greater love than
laying down their life for a friend (John 15:13). That is exactly what
he did. I offered nothing, there was no favour I could return, I
couldn’t even bring a pudding, but he kindly saw my need of a Saviour
and met it before I even asked. And then, even better, he has the Holy
Spirit is in my life. The Bible describes him as Comforter (John 14:26),
the Guide, the one who points to the Truth (John 16:13) and who walks
with me every day (Galatians 5:25). The hymn writer was right when he
wrote, “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

2) Church! The church is full of people walking in the same spiritual
direction as me, people who are also aware of their own sin but being
FRIENDSHIPchanged to be more holy, like Jesus. I picked up this little book “True
Friendship” (click on true friendship for link)  which gives excellent pointers for how to wisely make and keep friends in church, walking shoulder to shoulder. I have read, studied, re-read, bought and given away this book time and time again; I heartily recommend it! It has helped me to be realistic in what I expect of my friends, and what they can expect from me, and is overflowing with biblical wisdom to be blessed and be a blessing.

So. A question to think about over the summer: Who are your friends?

WHO ARE YOUR FRIENDS?

kathylarkman,

 

_MG_9161_2015

Sharon Durant, contributor for today’s blog

A few years ago, someone asked me that question. I mentally reviewed my friends — people who grew up on my street, people I was at school with, university, people I worked with, people I saw at the children’s play dates. I know a lot of people! But trying to think of a friend, a true friend, who walks shoulder to shoulder with me in Christ, who reliably keeps in touch and selflessly keeps on loving me and giving me truth? At that moment in my life, I had one.

To my shame, my list of ‘one’ didn’t even include the Lord Jesus! Since I was asked that question, God’s been taking me on a journey of what it means to HAVE friends and what it means to BE a friend. I’ve found two amazing places for friends:

1) Christ! Jesus himself commented that no one has greater love than
laying down their life for a friend (John 15:13). That is exactly what
he did. I offered nothing, there was no favour I could return, I
couldn’t even bring a pudding, but he kindly saw my need of a Saviour
and met it before I even asked. And then, even better, he has the Holy
Spirit is in my life. The Bible describes him as Comforter (John 14:26),
the Guide, the one who points to the Truth (John 16:13) and who walks
with me every day (Galatians 5:25). The hymn writer was right when he
wrote, “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

2) Church! The church is full of people walking in the same spiritual
direction as me, people who are also aware of their own sin but being
FRIENDSHIPchanged to be more holy, like Jesus. I picked up this little book “True
Friendship” (click on true friendship for link)  which gives excellent pointers for how to wisely make and keep friends in church, walking shoulder to shoulder. I have read, studied, re-read, bought and given away this book time and time again; I heartily recommend it! It has helped me to be realistic in what I expect of my friends, and what they can expect from me, and is overflowing with biblical wisdom to be blessed and be a blessing.

So. A question to think about over the summer: Who are your friends?

WOMEN’S BREAKFAST!

kathylarkman,

ENGLISH BREAKFASTHi ladies! This is just a reminder that we are having our second annual women’s breakfast. This is a perfect time to bring along your friends, and enjoy a time of food and friendship! If you haven’t signed up, no problem! Just let Anne Holmes know!

WHERE: Corsham Baptist Church Hall

WHEN: Saturday, 13 July

TIME: 9:30

SEE YOU THERE!

Picture1

KNOWING GOD

kathylarkman,

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I AM THE LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I DELIGHT in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken.’” Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT

Knowing God-  Just. Righteous. Unfailing love. Not only is this blatantly countercultural, but is a direct word from God. He delights in our knowing and understanding Him;  Our Father God, Our Redeemer and merciful Saviour Jesus Christ, and our Counselor and Comforter, the Holy Spirit!

And, the more we understand and know God, then we will know and understand ourselves. Why? Because we are His image bearers; He is our identity.

He is our foundation for us to accept what God does even when we don’t understand it. When we’re confused, we can fall back on what we know about God from his Word.

Each aspect of His character is a window into His beauty, another chance to trust Him, and another reason to love Him.