Reading the Word, Knowing the Word, Obeying the Word, Loving the Word, Sharing the Word. It begins with Reading the Bible. Here is a place to encourage each other to read and share our thoughts as we progress together on the journey of Christian Discipleship. Reading the Bible is the beginning of developing a personal, lifelong, obedient relationship with Jesus.
Here you will be able to read thoughts from the church staff and others about what the Lord is teaching them as they read the Bible this year.
A paper copy of a suggested Bible Reading Plan is available in the church foyer. You can download the app for android devices called DJ Bible Reading Plan. You can also obtain the plan Discipleship Journal Reading Plan through the YouVersion Bible app. Here is a link http://bible.com/r/2V
 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.  But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.  So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Acts 14:1-3 (ESV)
I want to be a more fruitful witness for the Lord.
I think most of us do. In Acts 14, Paul begins his ministry at Iconium (modern-day Konya, Turkey). Both Jews and Gentiles believed the good news. Verse 2 says that others poisoned the minds of the citizens. What did Paul do at this point? “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord.”
As we desire to be more fruitful witnesses of the Lord, we desire for it to come easy – as some say “to get the low-hanging fruit”. Well, all fruit is not low hanging. All witness opportunities won’t be easy. All new believers won’t ‘jump in the boat.’
We need the perseverance to remain ‘for a long time’ and to speak boldly in the face of poisoned minds. Our culture has poisoned the minds of many people. It may not be easy, and it may take more than a little time. Am I willing to expend more effort and to speak boldly and patiently to see more fruit gathered for the Father? But – I’m lazy and selfish – and this will cost me time and energy away from doing what I want to do.
Lord grant me a patient boldness that I will be a fruitful witness for you.
As I think through all that the Lord has done in the life of Kirby Woods over the last few years, I cannot help but think of this passage of scripture. This is a passage that many of us have probably read before but as is usual for God, he showed me something completely different when I read it recently. It is in verse 8 that the Lord showed me something very interesting about this set of events. As Pharaoh’s heart is hardened by the Lord, we are told that the people of Israel were “going out boldly.” Now before we dismiss this, we must remember that it will be just a few days later that this same people will complain to Moses about taking them out of Egypt because even in their slavery there was a level of comfort for them.
Like the people of Israel, we all enjoy our comforts. We like knowing what each day holds, and it makes us nervous, anxious, an even down right uncomfortable to not know the future. The only way the people of Israel were able to go out with boldness was through the power of God. While they did not understand all that leaving Egypt entailed, they did it with boldness because they knew it was an instruction for the Lord. My encouragement to you today church is to go out boldly. We may not understand or even agree with what we are dealing with. We may have a tendency to get nervous, anxious, and uncomfortable because we don’t know the end results. But with the power of God we can follow His leading with boldness. Be encouraged!
Psalm 16 was a part of my Scripture reading for this morning. Psalm 16:7 especially stood out to me-“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me also. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”
Reading the word of God is a discipline that brings me close to the Lord every morning. It brings me into the very presence of the Lord where he is speaking to me from his living word. The Bible is not just what God has said but is saying in the moment to me. Every morning, I look for a verse to hold onto through the day. To recite. To remember. To grasp. Oftentimes, I have an idea of what kind of day awaits me by the verse the Lord gives me for that day. This is all to say, the written word is not an end in itself. It is the written word that leads me to experience real encounters with the living word-my Lord Jesus Christ-throughout the day.
Psalm 15:1-2 O, LORD, who shall sojourn in your tents? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart . .
What are you telling yourself? Who are you listening to on the inside? We can’t let bad thoughts, doubting thoughts, pessimistic thoughts, untrue thoughts, and anything else that is not wholesome and honoring to the Lord or other people to infiltrate our mind and lead us in a path that allows these thoughts to linger in our mind. That is not speaking Truth in your heart.
2 Cor 10:5 says we should “take every thought captive to obey Christ”. We are in a spiritual battle while we are in this world, and much of it is fought within us. I need to guard against letting the thoughts that come to my mind to stay and abide there. Through listening to the Holy Spirit, we know the thoughts that should not remain and abide in our minds. Specifically, these can be thoughts with no merit or basis about some person or some situation in our lives.
We need to listen to Truth, and speak Truth to ourselves. We can’t allow thoughts that the father of lies sends our way to remain and abide in our heart. What is Truth? Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
If I am going to speak Truth in my heart, then I need to know the Truth and have an ongoing relationship with the Truth – Jesus.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Oh, what a blessing it has been to be able to participate in the early morning prayer time with our church family. (Praise the Lord for technology so I can watch the prayer time on Facebook as I’m getting my 2 boys ready for school.) When Pastor Thad read Ephesians 3:20-21 Monday, it struck me how small I tend make God. How easily I forget that He is the one who spoke the universe into existence! He is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think.
I was reminded as I have been walking through the life of Abraham this week, over and over how big our God is. He made many promises to Abraham that would include multiple descendants, fame, the Lord’s protections, and that through his descendants Abraham would be a blessing to all people (Genesis 12:2-3). These promises were seemingly impossible because Abraham was old and he had no children (minor details, right?). Even though these promises seemed impossible, Abraham stayed faithful. In Genesis 21, we see the God’s promises come to fruition and Sarah gave birth to Isaac. The promise from God had happened “just at the time God had said it would” (Genesis 21:2).
When our circumstances seem impossible, we have to remember that God is able to do far more abundantly. I have been encouraged to make my prayers big and I am excited to see how God moves. I want to experience God doing far more abundantly not only in own life but also here at Kirby Woods.
This morning when I was reading Genesis chapter two, verse seven struck me: “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
Now, I’ll be honest. I’m pretty old-fashioned. I love hymns, but I have been blessed to learn new songs as a church on Sunday mornings. After reading Genesis 2:7, the lyrics from “Great are You Lord” that we sang this past Sunday came into my mind. “It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You.” God formed man from the dust of the earth, but it wasn’t until God breathed into Adam that he came to life. My bible commentary remarked that we are uniquely physical and spiritual—created from dust and brought to life by the very breath of God. It is God that gives us life. He is our creator and sustainer.
And since God is our creator, we belong to Him. This should give us great hope and joy. I recently bought the book The New City Catechism: 52 Questions and Answers for Our Hearts and Minds. I’ve made it a challenge to memorize a question and answer each week this year. The first question reads, “What is our only hope in life and death?” Answer: “That we are not our own, but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.” Praise God our Creator! My life is not my own but belongs to the One who created me, sustains me, and saved me. I don’t know about you, but this gives me great peace and joy.
So, as we go into this new year, let us be reminded that we belong to God. He has formed our bodies and breathed life into us. It’s His breath in our lungs. Let us pour out our praise to Him and to Him alone.
Matt 1:23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).
There are days, when I really need to know that God is with me. We can ask “Where is God?” There are seasons of life or just one day when we neither see God at work in our lives, not experience his Joy or Peace. There are seasons when we are desperate for him and his activity in our lives.
Here scripture reminds us of the person of Jesus – God with us. He is with us. God, the eternal creator, the infinite, the one who spoke all things into existence, who sustains all things by the power of his word, who ordains all things according to his purpose – this God sent Jesus to us, so that God is with us, and that we can be with God.
We who are brought forth from dust, sinful by nature, limited in our existence and power to a few years on this earth, can have a relationship with the eternal Lord of all through the work of Jesus.
I can rejoice that Jesus was born for our relationship with God.