THIRD COLOSSIANS STUDY AVAILABLE!

colossiansTree[5971]The third Colossians Study Buddy questions are available at the churches and also on the blog! Christine Coltman is bringing this study to us on 25 November.

So, please meet with your buddy! This short bible study will really enrich you!

BLESSINGS!

 

PRAYING WITH CONFIDENCE

colossiansTree[5971]I was on National Express coach coming home from Heathrow Airport after being in Germany as Esther King was leading our second women’s bible study- Colossians: Rooted. Although I missed being there, you were in my thoughts and prayers.

I received many reports of the love and blessing of God through His word! I am encouraged how God is maturing us as He reveals Himself to us through Scripture.

Paul prays over the Colossians with confidence because they ARE bearing fruit; not because they need to bear fruit. There are many times when I don’t know how to pray for us, especially with confidence,  but I am learning that a good place to start is Scripture. It seems so obvious, but after being a Christian for years, I have realized its importance and power.

This prayer in Colossians 1 is one wonderful example of many in the Bible which teaches us how we should pray for one another as believers in Christ and with confidence. His continual prayer has been full of requests that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. (v.9) This is not just a prayer about guidance in specific situations of life, but actually it’s bigger than that. It’s about grasping the big picture of how central Jesus Christ is in God’s plan for the world- to put everything under Jesus Christ.

The result of the knowledge of Christ is a changed life!(v.10) Knowing Christ always brings practical changes to how we live. The changed life is described as: a worthy life, pleasing Christ, bearing fruit and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Notice it is God who is the one doing everything in this prayer. He has ‘enabled us,’ ‘rescued us ’ and ‘transferred us,’ ‘purchased us,’ forgave us.’vv (12-14) It is all God’s work through Jesus Christ! (vv.13-14)

So, if we want to see our lives changed, we need to keep asking God to show us how important Jesus Christ is! As we get a better grasp of WHO HE IS, changes will inevitably result in our everyday, ordinary lives.

Let’s pray for each other with confidence! May we all grow as we learn to know God better and better!

Kathy x

Overflowing With Thankfulness

Kathy Larkman, contributor for today’s blog post

As many of you Grace Place readers know, Ed and I have been in Frankfurt, Germany for the greater part of October. We were blessed by an Africa Inland Mission friend who has a flat there to allow us to use it for the month as she serves in Kenya for Tumaini Counselling Centre.

We are thankful to God for his provision and loving kindness in providing space and time to rest, refresh, and renew.

Here are a few of my highlights I want to share with you:

The joy of listening to Ed converse in German
The peace and beauty of the park where we walked regularly
Sausages, German ginger cookies, Stollen, chocolate cappuccino
Uninterrupted time to read good books!
Seeing and experiencing God’s creation and German history
Uninterrupted time and space to know that He is God in reflection and prayer
The joy and honour to pray Colossians 2:6-7 over my church family, family and friends.

There was so much more that I took in! I just can’t put it into words! I am sure that as Ed and I process this time in Frankfurt, we will see fruit in us and our church family.

col 2 67While away, I continued to read and ponder Colossians. Of course, this is the letter we are studying for Women’s Bible study. I was inspired by a friend who is memorizing Colossians. (thank you Hannah!) In my case, I thought it realistic to begin with memorizing Colossians 2:6-7 NLT. These are key verses in the whole of Colossians, which Sharon Durant drew our attention to last year as we began to prepare for this study.

Paul’s big point is that he wants the church to remain rooted in Jesus Christ, and not to drift away to something else. These verses make it clear that simply being IN CHRIST IS ALWAYS ENOUGH! Paul is working for the church’s maturity; not to be spiritually passive or lazy, but to an active walking in Christ.

We are called to be established and to GROW in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. May it be so, more and more!

I thank God for our time in Germany.  I thank God that He is I AM.  I thank God for my church family. I thank God that I can pray Scripture over us, knowing God will fulfil His purposes in and through us individually and as a church family!

Lots of love and so good to be back home and in my own bed!

Kathy

SAVE THE DATE! ROOTED: STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

colossiansTree[5971]I hope you have been blessed by our first study in Colossians!

SAVE THE DATE: Our next meeting is Monday, 28 October at 7:30pm in the CBC church hall.  

We are studying Colossians which is titled “Rooted.” Esther King has provided our second bible study on Col 1:9-23, which is on the Grace Place Blog, as well as hard copies at CBC and COTG. Remember to get with your study buddy! And If you don’t have a study buddy, please see Anne Holmes!
Have a great week!

RESCUED AND BROUGHT

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Hannah Spruijt, contributor for today’s post

I decided to do something crazy at the beginning of the summer holidays; I would memorise the whole of Colossians. I say crazy because I have a terrible memory at the best of times and in the past, I have had trouble getting just one verse to stick! However, I felt challenged listening to my lovely aunt tell me she was memorising Colossians every day during her dog-walking time, and I thought to myself a) what better way to spend my breastfeeding time and b) what better way to prepare for our year of studying Colossians in the women’s Bible study? A couple of months later, I can honestly say I’m loving it and really benefiting from it. I’m now over half way through chapter one and finding the Lord is speaking to me through the hiding of his Word in my heart (Psalm 119 v 11 tells us to do it!) and I’m finding hidden gems I would have otherwise overlooked.

One such example happened recently as I got to Colossians chapter 1 v 13. That morning I heard that a relative had very suddenly died, leaving his immediate family in shock, which has had a ripple effect through my family. Thankfully he was a believer; a lovely man who had served Jesus with his life through various ministries. But the shock for me was very real; he was fit, healthy and active but then suddenly called home. When I came to open my Bible that evening to memorise the next verse of Colossians, I read “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves”. What a comfort right there!

As I repeated the verse in the half-darkness to commit it to memory while feeding Caleb, two words struck me; ‘rescued’ and ‘brought’. To be rescued involves deliverance; like being dragged out of the jaws of danger or pulled from the heat of a terrible battle. It is a strong word! We can be so thankful for what we have been rescued from! Our sin caused certain death and separation from our Father God. But that is not the end! He doesn’t just rescue us and leave us alone. No, the passage says “He has…brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (italics mine). I found the word ‘brought’ to be so gentle and kind in comparison to the forceful ‘rescue’ from darkness. In fact, the word is more powerful in the original translation. It actually means we have been ‘transplanted’ from the power of darkness into Christ’s kingdom. According to commentators of this passage, this word is properly applied to the transplanting of races, and the settlement of them in a new home. Therefore, our salvation, which is begun by dramatic rescue, is completed by our settlement as God’s adopted children in our new home; where Christ is King and we get to be with Him forever. What a hope we have! Death is not the end! This verse has brought me so much encouragement and I hope it uplifts you too.

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A LIFE WORTH LIVING

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

WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY FOR?

grace place bio photo christine

CHRISTINE COLTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR FOR TODAY’S BLOG POST

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that as I’ve been prepping for this term’s studies on Colossians over the summer it’s been the verses about prayer that have stood out, and then to return from the holidays and find that prayer is exactly the topic that Eddie is preaching on! God often seems to move several currents in one direction to get me to the place he wants me to be.

I’ve always struggled with prayer. I could blame it on having distracting children, or previously, a busy full-time job, but in reality, it’s always been something I’ve found difficult. When I read Paul saying at the start of Colossians, “We always pray for you” (v3), and “We have not stopped praying for you” (v9), I get a guilty jolt. After all, these were people he had never even met and I seem to struggle to even pray regularly for my family. Why is it so hard?

Then I started to look at what Paul prays for the Colossians:

“We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding… We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so that you will have the endurance and patience you need.” (v9,12)

Paul doesn’t pray for the Colossians’ safety, finances, or even their health. He is asking that the they will know God’s character in full, and deepen their knowledge of Him. To know God is to understand His love for us, and to be completely secure in that. From this flows the “joy” (v11) we need for a full and active prayer life. After all, we naturally spend more time doing the things we love, especially when it’s with people we love, and if we are growing to love God more and more, we will want to spend time with Him, rather than it feeling like a chore.

I realised that what is especially exciting about these verses is that Paul is asking quite simply for what God has already promised. God says again and again in His Word that his goal is to make us, his children, more like Him. So, to ask for these things: “complete knowledge of His will, spiritual wisdom and understanding”; “His glorious power” is exactly what God wants us to ask Him for. God loves it when we hold Him to his promises because then He can deliver precious and good gifts to his children, rather than the foolish things that we ask for.

Paul understood that our greatest is to need to know God more, and I take encouragement that this can be my primary focus in prayer, and the best prayer that I can pray for others. It massively takes the pressure off me, stopping me from sitting in anxious silence trying to list all things I think I should be praying for others and myself, and instead sitting in joyful relationship with my Father, praying what He has told me to, for the eternal good of His kingdom.

ROOTED: STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

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

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.

ROOTED: STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

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!