“STRESSED WITH BELLS ON”

VICKY PHOTO

Vicky Stephenson, contributor for today’s blog post

As those of you who know me have realised at the moment I am stressed, “Stressed with bells on” and pretty exhausted. This is all due to unwise decisions made in the past (but that’s a whole other blog). So for the next 2 months I have to just, as my Australian friends would say “Suck it up, buttercup”!

However in the middle of this there are still daily decisions to make and so often I forget this.

Luckily God doesn’t forget or let me get away with it. Sadly I let the hint in Eddie’s sermon on ‘what is on your horizon when you wake each day’ wash over me so, God had to move to louder prompts.

When I wake each morning do I think “Thank you God I’m alive, saved and redeemed. My kids and husband are healthy, we have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge and your good works laid out before us to achieve today.”NO!!   I go ARGH I’m still tired, there isn’t any bread rolls for packed lunches and there are road works on the M32!

God obviously got a bit fed up of this and so used 2 different biblical texts to hit me over the head.

Firstly a sermon by our minister in Australia (love podcast sermons you can listen to in the car).

Numbers 11

NIV has wailing, ESV has complaining and weeping and the Message has grumbling and whining but obviously an Australian preacher sums it up as whinging.

11 Now the people complained/whinged/moaned/grumbled about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

 

God had had enough of their whinging, but did that stop them? No!

Next they were on about not having meat despite the miraculous daily bread of manna. Now Moses had had enough of them as well.

 

10 Moses heard the whining, all those families whining in front of their tents. God’s anger blazed up. Moses saw that things were in a bad way.

11-15 Moses said to God, “Why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to you to deserve this? Did I conceive them? Was I their mother? So why dump the responsibility of this people on me?

Moses didn’t want to have to listen to it either. You can read the rest of the story, they got their meat but it was not a happy ending.

So first hint that maybe God has had enough of listening to my pity party.

Next day quiet time; reading Jude 16 and grumblers come up (belly achers the Message calls them.)

 16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

Jude is contrasting these people with:

 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

I know which group I think I’m in but do my actions and grumblings show it?

Picture1So now I realise each morning there is a decision which needs Godly wisdom. Will I allow the world to drag me down or will I start the day praising without ceasing, thanking God in every circumstance?

Maybe with this the stress burden will lift just a little and I can see light at the end of the tunnel, all the stuff still needs to be done but the heart attitude has changed.

Praise God for his Word and the Spirit’s prompting allowing light to penetrate the darkness and remind me what truly matters.

 

 

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CHOICES- LAST NIGHT TOGETHER UNTIL SEPTEMBER!

Hi girlfriends!

Here’s hoping and praying that you have had a week of wise choices…

Tonight is our last study until September. We will be briefly recapping what we’ve learned. Also, our time will be  highlighted with two of our CBC women sharing their personal journeys in applying biblical wisdom to their choices.

YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS IT! There will also be cake and cuppas waiting with your name on it!

WHEN: Tonight, 27 June

TIME: 7:30pm 

WHERE: Corsham Baptist Church 

Hope to see you there. I promise-you will be glad you came!

Love, Kathy xo

 

 

We Were Created to Reflect God’s Glory

Picture1 In our last formal bible study, we considered LIVING OUT OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST.

The World, our flesh, and Satan try to tell us who we are- mindsets that are worldly and self-absorbed.   But the solid, gospel truth is that you are who God says you are, and no one else has a vote in the matter. It is only when we put our identity in Christ; we become who we are created to be. We were created to reflect the glory of God. We desperately need to understand this deeply in our hearts and how this mindset changes practically the way we live and the choices we make.

These are points we which were considered:

OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST IS RECEIVED NOT ACHIEVED

OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST CAUSES US TO LIVE FOR GOD NOT OURSELVES

OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST CAUSES US NOT TO FEAR THE FUTURE

OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST GIVES US NO NEED TO JUDGE OR COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHERS

We must choose who we will listen to and follow to where we will put our identity– the world and the enemy of our souls; or our Lord Jesus and embrace HIS IDENTITY IN US? Because if we make this choice one step at a time enabled by the Holy Spirit, we will find the freedom to live out all He has planned for us.  And as we see ourselves the way GOD sees us, we walk with confidence because we CAN trust Him.

I hope you all will come out for our final time together with our Ladies’ Bible Study until next calendar year in September 2016.  It is MONDAY, 27 JUNE, at Corsham Baptist Church at 7:30PM.

Always ever all for Jesus,

Kathy xo

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ACCUMULATION OF OUR CHOICES

Picture1Hey sisters, praying you had a good week as you pondered the way of wisdom in your choices with a Gospel mindset. Remember: The key to overcoming is to root out the wrong beliefs and attitudes of our hearts.  And this is a lifelong journey of growing into Christ likeness; godliness, holiness. It is a lifelong enrolment in Jesus’ school.   THIS is GOSPEL MINDSET.

Today we are reviewing Study 5, ACCUMULATION OF OUR CHOICES: HABITS-GOOD OR BAD?

We considered how we subtly fall into sinful habits:

  1. We forget who we are in Christ. (Deut 4:9, 2 Peter 1:9)
  2. We then are vulnerable to Satan and the world at its lies (1 Peter 5:8, 2 Cor 11:14)
  3. We fall into counterfeit temporary satisfaction or relief instead of God (Jer 2:13)

Consequences: Despair, disillusionment with God. Or, there is pride and arrogance claiming there is no need for God. He is pushed aside once again.

Scripture reminds us that we are new creatures in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17, Eph 4:22-24, 1 John 1:9)We must remain in this Gospel mindset when we begin to deal with our bad habits.

Finally, we considered biblical practical application to overcome. This is taken from Jerry Bridges book, Respectable Sins

  • Address our sin in the context of the gospel: Rom 6:6
  • Learn to rely on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit Rom 8:13
  • Recognize our responsibility 1Tim 4:8
  • We must identify our sinful habits.
  • Apply appropriate Scriptures
  • Cultivate the practice of prayer
  • Involve one or two other believers with you

Finally, our bible study ended with the Scripture in Ephesians 4:22-30 teaching us that Biblical change is not just turning away from bad habits. It is also turning towards righteousness by replacing it with good habits. As you reflect on this, think and pray of ways of replacing the sinful habit with a positive good habit.

Chat with your study buddy or someone close to you and share your progress. Pray for continued grace to address bad habits which hinder your moving forward with Christ.

Kathy Larkman

Praying for us all to make wise choices this week to the glory of God,

Kathy xo

 

 

 

ESTABLISHING AND UNLOCKING PATTERNS OF WISDOM IN OUR EVERYDAY CHOICES

Kathy Larkman

Kathy Larkman

Hi girlfriends!

As most of you know, I have been on a whirlwind trip to visit my family in USA the last three weeks. It was a blessing to visit with them all! Thank you for your prayers. God is faithful and true. AND, it is so good to be home again and to serve my Lord here where I know He has placed me.

In this blog post, we continue with the brief revisiting of our Bible Study series: The Way of Wisdom: Choices with a Gospel Mindset.

Our focus in study three was ‘Establishing a Pattern of Wisdom in Our Choices’.  We must be intentional and to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. To maintain and grow in this pattern of wisdom is a lifelong journey.

Much of our study focused on James 1 and 3 where we considered what it looks like to establish patterns of wisdom in our choices. We considered three areas:

  1. Seek Biblical truth. Ask yourself: Have I been reading and applying God’s word to my life?
  2. Pray, Pray, and pray some more. Ask yourself: Have I been communicating with God through prayer and scripture?
  3. Intentionally PRACTICE in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself: Have I been putting my heart and mind in places where wisdom gathers and grows?

Wise choices will more likely to happen when we can say yes to all three questions. Wise choices bear wisdom fruit over time.

Study four continued on in the same direction with ‘Unlocking Wisdom in the Everyday Places.’ It is as we prayerfully seek the mind of Christ in the daily choices of everyday life that the Holy Spirit unlocks for us the riches of God’s wisdom. We must proactively practice wisdom from the firm foundation of the Gospel. Wisdom will rise over time as we persevere, producing discernment, insight and maturity. We studied scripture in Psalm 119, 1 John 4, 1 Thess. 5, and Philippians 1 to consider what this looks like as growing Christians. Tim Challies: “Mature Christians will differentiate between what is pleasing to God and what is not, between what is consistent with scripture and what is not. There can be no growth without discernment.” Spiritual maturity is closely tied to discernment. There are no Christians who are mature but undiscerning. The solid food in God’s Word is for those who are mature, who through constant use have the skill to recognize the difference between truth and error, right and wrong, best from good. The Bible cries out repeatedly for us to grow in discernment to make us alive, growing and mature.

We don’t have to complicate our everyday choices WITH our messiness, but IN our messy lives we can simply focus on the SOURCE of all wisdom. Following Jesus is not a check list, but a daily choice. It is on this foundation we will grow slowly wise. Our Creator God of love, our God who is all wise and merciful, knows what we need. He longs to give us Biblical love and wisdom which produces discernment and insight, which then will make us mature. He longs to give us HIS peace through Jesus. He longs to give us a hope and future.

Are you allowing Father, Son and Holy Spirit to use the everyday places in your life to expose and refine you, to mould you, to teach and grow you, to chip off the rough edges? Do you see a pattern of wisdom coming alive? Talk to the Lord about it.

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JUNE THOUGHTS

Kathy Larkman

Kathy Larkman

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers.” Philemon 1:4

It is with a thankful heart that I draw our study series to a close, The Way of Wisdom: Choices with a Gospel Mindset. I truly hope it has blessed and helped you to grow in your walk with our Lord. I have grown through this series, and I am grateful to you for allowing me to serve you in this way.

Our last study is on 27 June. We will have a time of summary and reflection of what we studied and how we can help each other apply it to our everyday lives. So between now and the 27th, there will be study buddy sheet, along with a brief revisiting of each study on this blog. I encourage you to ponder and jot a few notes if it is helpful. The bible study questions and notes are also available on the blog to jog your memory…

The opening study: The Inescapable Choice. The text was taken from8155770700_4439a4ea9a (1) Matthew 7 where we began with the text of narrow/wide gates; foolish/ wise builder. Jesus reminds us that this choice is one which will lay the trajectory for all of life’s choices and eternity. There only two ways to live: the way of the Lord and the way of the world. Our Lord challenges us to make up our minds.

The second study: Measuring Our Choices By Bible’s Wisdom. This means to obey what the Bible says instead of what the world or our sinful self says; to make wise choices in light of the Gospel. We considered what it is to fear God in Proverbs 2:1-6 and how that brings about Godly wisdom. This scripture is a foundational truth with which to build on.

What stands out to you from these two studies? How is God’s word changing you in these areas of choices?

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