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{Week 3} WIWW Link-Up Party…..And then everything changed…

 

I used to live a regimented lifestyle.  Always on time.  Franklin-Covey planner marked up and checked off to a T.  Neat freak and paper filer.  I even remember a day when my clothes closet was  methodically organized by color, beginning with the lightest shade, and gradually darkening in color as the shirt line grew deeper.  Aahhhh.

 

And then I had kids.

 

Amazing, isn’t it, how one tiny little person can change everything?  Forget the color-coded closet nonsense (wow, did I need a hobby!).  Some days I’m just lucky to get the wet laundry switched into the dryer before it sits too long and I’m forced to re-run the load all over again.

But I like this new me much better than the old one.  I like approaching train tracks with a minivan full of kids and silently thinking, “Man, I hope we get stopped by one today.”  The old me would have grumbled at the delay.  The new me wants the first spot next to the crossing, so my kids have the best view (okay, and so the engineer can see us all giddily pumping our arms up and down in hopes that he’ll sound the whistle – for just a little longer than necessary – at our hyper request).  I used to complain about things like a blanket of fresh snow on the ground, and would immediately think of compromised commutes and of how winter drags on for what seems like forever here in the Midwest.  Now I join my kids and with pure excitement, we sprint to the nearest window and cheer loudly at the sight of the first snowflake.  And then I shallowly ask God to make it that perfectly packing kind, just right for boy-sized snowballs and snowmen.

 

Sure, the little inconveniences that surround things like busy train tracks and snow storms still exist.  But my identity as a mom has given me a new perspective on life.  A much sweeter, freeing perspective. 

 

Ephesians brings us good news.  There was a baby who changed everything over two thousand years ago.  His name was Jesus. 

His coming was less than glamorous and certainly not convenient according to human terms, but He would prove to change the path of humanity in an instant.  The world would still remain incredibly imperfect, but suddenly He gave us reason to see life in a whole new way.  A different perspective.

 

A future and a hope…

 

Jesus.

 

Are you living with the perspective as one who is forgiven today, or are you still stuck in the “old” you?  Focused on the inconvenient, or living joyously free?  Confident in your identity in Christ, or looking to the world for value and fulfillment?

 

He came, and everything changed…

 

BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy,

because of His great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in trespasses,

  MADE US ALIVE together with Christ – it is by grace you have been saved.”

Ephesians 2:4-5

 

Today, you can LIVE like you KNOW it.

At His Feet,

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Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other.  We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

Love God Greatly!- Angela

For our friends who live in the Irvine, Ca area …….Angela be speaking at the upcoming Sally Clarkson, Mom Heart Conferences this coming Friday, February 3rd. She’d LOVE to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{Guest Post} Because Sometimes We Forget …by Stacey

Today we have a special guest post from my friend, Stacey, who blogs at 29 Lincoln Avenue & MOD Squad. If you haven’t been to either of her blogs……then you need to visit them today! You’ll be glad you did! – Angela

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Do you ever forget who you are? I know I do. I get overwhelmed by life and the dailiness of it all. I barely have time to remember my name or where I put my coffee cup. You know what I’ve realized this past week while studying Ephesians 1? It is good for me to remember not only who I am, but Whose I am. He must have known we would forget, because He wrote it in black and white for us to see. He said…

chosen
forgiven
blameless
blessed
redeemed
lavished with grace

And the truth is, when you really want someone to remember something, you write it down. You send a note. You email. You say it with words because it matters and you don’t want them to forget.

I am witness to this power of writing it down. I’ve seen words wash over a girl of ten and soak in deep till she wore them like her Sunday best. This sweet girl of 10 (now 12) is my daughter. For her birthday that year I asked 30 women to write her a letter telling her what made her special. They wrote the most beautiful letters. They sent His Words. They told her she was amazing, sweet, a true God’s girl and how they loved her passion for worship. The night she opened her gift she came into my room and said, “Oh Mommy, I did not know I was so special.” I watched as day after day she read a different letter, and carefully placed it in her keepsake book. She added stickers and ribbon to the pages and read them again until she didn’t have to read them anymore, because they were written on her heart.

I’ll say it again….

chosen
forgiven
blameless
blessed
redeemed
lavished with grace

These are not my words. They are His. He want us to know how special we are, too. Do you believe it? Do you live like it is true? Can you pick up these words each day, and put them on like you would your favorite pair of cute red shoes? I have an idea: Let’s put them on cards, scribble them on our hands, and write them on our grocery lists. Let’s keep writing and reading them until we don’t have to read them anymore because they are written on our hearts.

Stacey is Mike’s wife and the mother of four vibrant girls. She loves God’s Word, connecting with women and drinks way too much coffee. You can find her blogging at 29lincolnavenue or follow her on Twitter as stacey29lincoln. Her Good Morning Girls group is made up of two other women she adores named Amy and Tracie. Together with a team of amazing women, they write a blog for Mothers of Daughters called the MODsquad.

{WEEK 3} EPHESIANS 2:1-10

 

{Tyler and I on our honeymoon in 1997!}

My husband and I went on a much needed date Saturday night (feel free to insert your own favorite version of The Hallelujah Chorus here!).  In our world consisting of four young children, a variable hospital work schedule, ministry involvement and other random commitments, finding a free night dedicated to just us can sometimes be a pretty tough feat.  We met another couple for dinner, and clearly didn’t run out of things to talk about since we ended up closing the restaurant down nearly four hours later!  We really need to get out more – ha!

My favorite part of the evening?  Sharing with our friends how Tyler and I began our relationship all those years ago.  I sat and listened as my sweet husband described his early college years and how God got a hold of his heart in a powerful way.  We remembered our many years of friendship, when we grew to know God and each other more.  I even got chills when Tyler talked about how his feelings for me gradually, oh so subtly, changed into something more than just friendship.  And we had to laugh, once again, when our individual stories differed a bit on how -and when- God turned both of our hearts in agreement towards each other.

Remembering how it all started is good for my soul.

I left that restaurant filled with a thankful heart for all God has done and all He is still doing in our life and marriage together.  That simple story refreshed my thinking and commitment towards our covenant relationship before God.  I was humbled all over again when I recalled the fact that the development and sustaining of our relationship is all God’s doing, because we were, and are, two very imperfect people.

In the same way, it is good and right to recall those early days when God moved in my life to bring me into a saving relationship with Him.


As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

in which you used to live when you followed the ways

of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air,

the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh

and following its desires and thoughts.

Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Ephesians 2:1-4

Remembering who we were before Christ.  Our story begins there, and we should tell our story often.   No, not in a living-in-the-past sort of way, but in admiration and awe of  what God sent Jesus to do on our behalf!

Paul has done just that for us in our first two weeks in Ephesians.  He does well to remember, and then to remind us of our spiritual blessings in Christ.  And then, get this:  because he has HEARD of their faith, he is moved to respond in worship to the One who made it all possible.  Wow.

I love how telling the story of what Jesus has done for us can change our thinking instantly.  Instead of focusing on our worldly circumstances, it wallpapers truth on the walls of our minds, bringing us to new levels of thankfulness and commitment in our relationship with Him.  And the effects don’t stop there!  Our testimonies can move others to worship our Savior!  Isn’t that an amazing thought?!  As we move into week three of our study, I hope you are as excited as I am to share with others what God has done for us.  You can start by sharing with your Good Morning Girls group this week!  My prayer is that we, like the Ephesians, will be found faithful, and that the reminder of the gospel impacts us in such a way that we can’t keep quiet about what God has done!

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,

made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—

it is by grace {insert your name here!} you have been saved.”

Ephesians 2:4-5

 

This week read: Ephesians 2:1-10

Digging a little deeper: For those of you who would like to learn more about these verses this week, I’ve provided a few resources below for you to use to help you…….dig a little deeper!

1. John MacArthur

a. Ephesians 2:1-10 Coming Alive in Christ

b. Ephesians 2: 1-10 Exchanging Living Death for Dying Life

2. John Piper

a. Ephesians 2:1 Why We Need a Savior pt 1

b. Ephesians 2:2-3 Why We Need a Savior pt 2

c. Ephesians 2:4 But God…

d. Ephesians 2:8 Pray for All His Purposes

 

Question: Looking back, how has God moved in your life?

 

I can’t wait to read your answers!

 

At His feet,

 

 

 

Become a Woman of Power

Hi ladies, how was your week? Did you wonder at all where you would find motivation, energy, and strength to get anything done, let alone meet with God? I did, and I’m sure that I am not the only one who sometimes feels completely drained. My toddler keeps throwing random items into the toilet and using the trash as a wending machine.  Then there is the laundry, which multiplies faster than rabbits, and a husband who will be home famished after a long day at work. Did I mention that my in-laws live with us? And somewhere in all of that I need to homeschool my older kids. We all have a lot going on, and if we’re honest we know that we don’t have the strength to get it all done.

This is why I was encouraged by Eph. 1:19, 20. Paul says he was praying that the Ephesian Christians would know “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,… that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead ….”

Many of us think of Jesus’ resurrection as a historical event that “saves” us, but we don’t always see how it connects to our everyday lives (and making Resurrection Rolls doesn’t count). Paul says we can know the power of God that was displayed in Jesus’ resurrection. And it is available to all Christians.

I recently read a devotional that asked what the most powerful thing was besides God. The answer was death.

“Every living thing, no matter how small or large, no matter how beautiful or ugly, poor or rich will experience death. Even the devil himself will experience a kind of death. One of the best ways that God has demonstrated his power is by overcoming death. And this same power dwells within every believer.”   - The Exaltation of Christ

As I read through Scripture I see that Jesus IS the power of God (1Cor. 1:24), and with Jesus God has given us a spirit of power (2Tim. 1:7) through which he has granted us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). His power makes us effective witnesses of Jesus to the world and to our children and spouses (Acts 1:8). It gives us hope in the midst of dark times (Rom. 15:13). It helps us fight spiritual battles in our homes and hearts (2 Cor. 10:4), and it causes us to persevere without being crushed in the midst of pressing duties and present troubles.

But here is my favorite part: How much power do we have available to us? Later in Ephesians 3:20 Paul says, “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.” God’s power is far more abundant than we can imagine!  What can this immeasurable power do? Well, it gave Polycarp the strength to be burned alive for his faith, Ignatius to be joyfully mauled to death by lions for his love for Jesus, and this power is given to you to fulfill your calling.

The reason we don’t really experience much of this power is because we either don’t believe it, think much about it, or seek for it. Some  expect God to just give it. But experiencing this divine power is only found as we rest in Jesus. Here are some ways of doing that.

Look Up

Resting in Jesus while facing all that God has put before us requires us to look up in prayer (James 5:16), expecting God to work in us in mighty ways. I like what Billy Sunday said, “If you are strangers to prayer, you are strangers to power.”

Go Deep

If we are to discover the power of God we must go deep in the word for there we not only see his power in the past, but also find strength for today. The Holy Spirit uses the word to sanctify us (Jn. 17:17; 2 Thess. 2:13), transform our minds (Rom. 12:2; Ps. 19:7-14) and empower us unto godliness.

Work Hard

God grants power, but not so we can relax. “Let go and let God” is often a euphemism for “I don’t care, God will work it out.” God gives us power that we might work hard (Col. 1:28, 29)! When you think you don’t have any more to give remember that we are not wells that run dry, but rivers whose source is the eternal, almighty God. You can learn to deal gently and patiently with your children and be loving and respectful to your husband because you have the power of God in you! You can suffer well because Jesus has suffered well for you, and you now have the power of God to draw from. So, you can give your best at work or clean your home with a godly (dare I say even joyful) attitude because you have Jesus, and his resurrection power.

Never underestimate the importance of our Redeemer’s resurrection for without it we could never grow in godliness.

Looking to Jesus,

 

 

 

 

 

Books that will take you deeper:

Benefits of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, by Perry Hess (free)

Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, D.A. Carson

Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything, Adrian Warnock

{Week 2} WIWW Link-Up Party

 

Wow, you all amazed me last week by setting a new record number of link-ups!!! We had a total of 98!!! I loved visiting your different sites and getting to know some of you! In celebration I’ve decided to showcase one special blog post that has been linked up each month on the last Wednesday of the month, so make sure and come back again and again sharing with the GMG community what you are learning through our Ephesians study!

Today I’d like to share with you Courtney’s Bible Study Methods & Tips video!

 

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

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Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other.  We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

Love God Greatly!- Angela

 

 

For my friends who live in the Irvine, Ca area or Dallas/Fort Worth, Tx area…….I’ll be speaking at the upcoming Sally Clarkson, Mom Heart Conferences this coming February. I’d LOVE to meet you there!

 

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