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Kingdom Work

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There are a lot of things that Children are not strong enough to do. They even lack strength and stamina to sometimes do the jobs that, as parents, we find very easy. My youngest, for example, thinks that picking up legos is the hardest job in the word. He is not shy about telling me that it is too hard, or he is too tired, or his arms hurt too much for him to get the job done. But I know what he is capable of, I know that if he perseveres he can do it, and if the job is too big I will come alongside and help.

We often feel the same way with the mission God sends us on and the jobs he calls us to fulfill. THere may be many things in life which we feel ill equipped to handle and yet God calls us to obey and follow him anyway.

And yet he isn’t some harsh task master who delights in our weaknesses and cracks the whip on our backs if we fail or stumble. He is our loving God who has made us and knows exactly what we can and cannot handle. And when we are faced with difficulties and jobs we don’t think we can do our Creator is at our side making his grace known in our lives and working his power through our weakness.

So how can we  have this power working in our life, through our struggles?

It happens by faith.

1. Believe by faith

It is by faith that we must trust that God is good and knows what he is doing. It is through faith that we must tackle our jobs and believe that He will work through our, sometimes, feeble attempts of obedience. He doesn’t always give us easy circumstance but he only places those things in our lives which will bring us greater holiness and more dependance on him. It is by faith that we must believe that in God’s kingdom there are no insignificant people or jobs. Therefore, making dinner, doing laundry, running errand and training little ones are important.

2. Pray with faith

We must pray with faith. When we come to God with our struggles and afflictions, when we feel overwhelmed and inadequate than we must believe that God will act.

“Prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady”
Matthew Henry Commentary on 2. Corinthians

When we pray we are admitting that we can’t do it on our own, When we tell him how we feel and when we ask him to work in us we must believe that he will use us for his glory!

3. Work by faith

When God gives us a job we must obey in faith. We may not understand it all, we may feel unprepared for the task ahead of us, but we must have a courageous heart and work with all our might for the glory of God. This may be raising children to the best of our abilities not knowing what impact they may on others in the future.

Faithfulness not only glorifies God but it also causes us to grow because we will see God at work in and through us.

How beautiful to read the story of the conversion of Angela’s mother because of the faithfulness of a little girl. That family has no idea the impact that saved soul would have on her own family and on the world.

We tend to think too little of the power of God. Yet, in his love, he offers to us the great power that can make us bold for Christ, strong under persecution and persevere through any task God gives to us. On our own we will be fearful and overwhelmed and maybe even quit altogether. Instead, let’s ask Christ to use his power in our lives  in ways that we can never imagined.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

Our Faithful God

Faithfulness
Trust is something that all humans struggle with. There is very little that everyone can really count on. We are confident that the sun will rise and set each day. All of humanity is confident that death will someday find them, and pretty much everyone trusts that they will face adversity in some form or another. But there really isn’t much in life that we can place our complete confidence in, and I think this why we often have trouble believing that God can love us with an unconditional and unwavering love.

One of the reason we cannot depend wholly on ourselves or others is because we and they are always changing. We are not constant, but God never changes (Mal 3:6), and this is why we can rest in him and in his faithfulness to us.

Understanding the faithfulness of God is critical to our confidence in him and hope for the future. Here are 4 things we must know well that will help us see the faithfulness of God.

We must know that God never changes in:

1. His purposes

While we cannot know all of God’s purposes we can know a few of them because he has revealed them to us in scripture. His main purpose is to glorify himself. This means that all things will be used for this end. With that he also causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him, as well as their sanctification. changed into the image of God. (Jn 17:17; Rom 8)

2. His Character

Don’t be afraid to do a study on all the different aspects of God’s character. You will be in awe of how great our God is and you will be greatly blessed and encouraged. You will see that because he is faithful he cannot go against his character. The old catechism says that God is unchanging in his “being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.” (WSC Q. 4, and see Ps. 102:25-27; Mal. 3:6; James 1:27)

For I the LORD do not change;
Mal. 3:6

3. His Promises

His faithfulness requires that he accept us through the blood of Jesus because he has spent his wrath against our sin on his Son. Therefore he has promised to save all of those who repent and call on the name of Christ (Rom. 3:26). His faithfulness causes him to sustain you when you are burdened and to strengthen you when you are weak. He has also promised to return and make all things right and because of his faithfulness he will come back to rescue us all.

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.
Heb 6:18

4. His Love

His love is constant, relentless, and eternal. And we see it best at the cross. This is where the love of Christ shines brightest. Here he was willing to lay down his holy, innocent life for rebellious, sinful, forgetful and unloving creatures like us. At the cross we see the Judge step down from his bench and become the one judged in our stead.

He is not like a wave that is always moving. He is our rock–our fortress that cannot be shaken, moved or changed. Because he cannot change we can place complete trust in the love he has for his people.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Psalm 36:5

Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. Jn 13:1b

Perhaps you are having a hard time trusting God right now. In the midst of life that is constantly changing. In the middle of a season where crises are constant and you aren’t sure what going to happen next, you must go to God’s word and learn over and over again that he is trustworthy because he us good and never changes. You can rest in that.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

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The Great Deceiver

3 Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky (Russian painter, 1868-1945)   Reading in the Garden 1915
One of the things we read and talked about this week is how Satan tries to fill our minds with voices that speak lies to us. They whisper that we are not good and are unworthy of God’s love. He tells us we are not talented enough for God to use us, or that we are not smart enough to know God in a deep way. He fills us with doubt, discouragement, fear and disbelief in order to hinder us in our Christian walk. So I want to focus on 3 areas of our lives where Satan likes to wreak havoc.

1. He will mess with our thoughts

Satan will do all he can to mess with our heads. Sadly, he doesn’t have to use much to mess us up. It can be a passing comment by a friend or family member, it can be a glimpse in the mirror, or an attempt at something that fails. He will tempt us to think that what is true is false, what is right is wrong, or what is good is bad. He weaves these webs of doubt and disbelief so that we take our eyes off of Jesus and focus on ourselves. It corrupts our knowledge of God and always leads to weak faith and ungodliness.

When thoughts or inclinations contrary to the will and ways of God creep in, many dear Christians mistake these miserable orphans for their own children, and take upon themselves the full responsibility for these carnal passions. So deftly does the devil slip his own thoughts into the saints’ bosom that by the time they begin to whimper, he is already out of sight. And the Christian, seeing no one but himself at home, supposes these misbegotten notions are his own. So he bears the shame himself, and Satan has accomplished his purpose.
William Gurnall

2. He will mess with your quiet time

Satan knows something that we often forget, and that is the power and effectiveness of the word of God. He knows that in it we not only find truth, but The Truth. Therefore he will do all he can to keep us from the Scriptures. The other thing Satan knows about the word of God is that it is his “kryptonite”–the sword that can and will defeat him.  John Piper points out that “many Christians fail to realize that we can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it. If the Word of God does not abide in us (Jn. 15:7), we will reach for it in vain when the enemy strikes.” Not matter what we face, no matter how we feel, we must make sure we are in God’s word so that our sword is sharpened and ready for battle. With a sword like that the devil cannot overcome you!

“It is written.” Stand upon it, and if the devil were fifty devils in one, he could not overcome you. On the other hand, if you leave “It is written,” Satan knows more about reasoning than you do. He is far older, has studied mankind very thoroughly, and knows all our weak points. Therefore, the contest will be an unequal one.  Do not argue with him but wave in his face the banner of God’s Word.  Satan cannot endure the infallible truth, for it is death to the falsehood of which he is the father.
C.H. Spurgeon

3. He will mess with your prayer life

All prayer requires of us is that we simply, truly, talk to God through Jesus Christ. But many of us struggle with this. We don’t know what to say, we feel like our prayers are not reaching the ears of God.  Sometimes we find ourselves distracted and bored. How many of us are truly excited and can’t wait to attend our church prayer meetings? How many times do we try to pray only to have all kinds of other thoughts flood our minds? Satan has done a great job convincing us that prayer is a drag and because of this many of us have weak prayer lives. We cry out when we are desperate or want something, but we rarely just talk to him about our day, our life, our desires and his greatness.

Few indeed are to be found who pray: there are many who go down on their knees, and say a form perhaps, but few who pray; few who cry out to God, few who call on the Lord, few who seek as if they wanted to find, few who knock as if they hungered and thirsted, few who wrestle, few who strive with God earnestly for an answer, few who give Him no rest, few who continue in prayer, few who pray always without ceasing and do not grow weak. Yes: few pray!  It is just one of the things assumed as a matter of course, but seldom practiced; a thing which is everybody’s business, but in fact hardly anybody performs.
J.C. Ryle

Satan will never give up distracting us with lies, false pleasures, and a plethora of idols to replace God. We must be aware of his tactics and fight against him.

We must guard our minds, dive deep into our quiet times, and persevere in prayer–but not to earn more of God’s love. You see, the devil is right when he tells us that we are unworthy of God’s love. We are. Yet, God loves us anyway and eternally. We guard our minds, dive deep into our quiet times, and persevere in prayer because in this we see the love of God more clearly.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

 

jenthorn.com

We Are Loved!

Psalm

How exciting that we are closing out the first week of our “You Are Loved” study. I hope that you have been blessed so far.

The topic of God’s love is so very important and so large that we can spend the rest of our lives studying it and still not understand it all.

Many have a hard time believing that God truly loves and accepts us no matter what.  While we don’t fully realize the depths and heinousness of our sins, we do get glimpses of it and those glimpses make us realize that we don’t deserve God’s love.

Over and over again we try to work for God’s favor. We want to earn his love. We want to be worthy of it. I have found that there are three common ways we often try to earn God’s love.

1. Prayer

Prayer, which should be the cry of a heart in need and the expression of love to our Heavenly Father, often becomes the ground on which we try to stand before God. Some of us are tempted to think, “If I pray enough–hard enough, frequently enough, sincerely enough–then God will take me seriously.”

2. Bible reading

Some get the feeling that God is frowning on them because they have not been reading their Bibles as regularly as they think they should. While it is true that our affection for God is often kindled through the reading of his word, it is not true that his affection for us increases when we read.

3. Good Works

Others think that the better they obey, the more good works they put out there, the more God will be pleased with them. So we may feel like we need to do more volunteer work, or be really kind to our families, in order for God to smile upon us.

We must repent from all of these things because they are an insult to the love that God has for us. He has promised that, as one of his children, his love for us will be never ending and we must believe this by faith. Paul tells us that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

“We are a part of the family of God—and so we belong with him. There is no special ticket, no need to earn or prove ourselves. For better or worse, we have His name, His love, His loyalty, His acceptance.”

Sally Clarkson

How can we begin to grasp God’s love? We must look to Jesus. Christ lived and died for you! He shed his blood so that instead of experiencing the eternal wrath of God you can experience the eternal love of God. A love that is completely unconditional. Unconditional means that there are no conditions that we must first meet in order to be worthy of this amazing love. Christ did it all for us. We do not need to work for it and we cannot lose it.

 

Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God – to be the son, the spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory? Christian, believe this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting – of the love which brought the Son of God’s love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory – that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced – which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died. That love will eternally embrace you.

Richard Baxter

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

jenthorn.com

Our Easter Response

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Can you believe the Easter holidays are over and so is this study? Time sure flies, but just because the celebrations have ended does not mean that we should stop thinking about all that happened that day on the cross. The resurrection of Jesus has brought life to all who believe in him, and our lives should reflect that. This is not something we can leave to one holiday or season. It is an always-practical and ever-important truth that we always take with us.

One of the messages of the cross is that of reconciliation both between God and man and between man and man. These are the who things I would like us to look at today.

1. We are called to reconcile with each other

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.
And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
2. Cor. 5:19

Sin breaks everything, including relationships. How many friendships have been ruined because of careless words or cruel intentions? But just as God reconciled us to himself we are to pursue reconciliation with others. Over and over again sin will work its way between friends, within marriage, and among siblings. And over and over again we need to make repairs where sin has done damage. But how do we get beyond the hurt and betrayal of those who we have loved? It, as always, goes back to gospel truths.

As Christians who have been born again by the power of God, the old things have passed and we are now new creatures–creatures who should not hold grudges, harbor bitterness, or hold onto hurt feelings, but instead forgive freely when needed, and who seek forgiveness from those they have hurt.

Shall we demur, hesitate, and debate in our minds the question of forgiveness, and then go to God and ask Him to forgive us as we forgive others? Hesitate to forgive a brother, and then, if you can, ask God so to pardon you. Remember God forgives at once!
- Octavios Winslow

What should this forgiveness look like? We must forgive immediately, fully, and sincerely just as God has forgiven us.

2. Call others to be reconciled to God

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Cor. 5:20-21

As Christ followers we are ambassadors for God. We are to speak in God’s name and tell everyone who will listen of the good news of the gospel. This is not only our privilege but our calling.

As people who have experienced the forgiving grace of God first hand we should be eager for others to find this same peace with God. But how will they find this reconciliation if we do not tell them? How will they hear of God’s love if we do not show them the way to Jesus? The gospel we believe is the greatest thing we have to give to others. To not offer it to those in need is to deny their need and God’s calling.

There are hundreds of lessons we can learn from the cross, but the main one is that of reconciliation. Do we have any right to withhold forgiveness from others if God has forgiven us? And should we not be excited to share this news with those around us? From our children to our neighbors–all need to hear of Christ’s awesome work for sinners in his sacrifice and resurrection.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

 jenthorn.com

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OUR SUMMER BOOK CLUB SELECTION
WILL BE ANNOUNCED NEXT MONDAY

Friends, join us back here next Monday as we announce our SUMMER BOOK CLUB selection and share some exciting things God is doing through Good Morning Girls!!!

Our summer session will begin June 2nd and we would LOVE for you to invite some friends and join us!  Stay tuned for more details in Monday’s post!!! We’re SOOOO EXCITED!

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10291852_10202840400265458_3967646622765823018_nHow can parents cultivate heroic hearts in their children? What is imagination, and why is it vital to a child’s education? What role do great books play in shaping a child’s perception of self? How do parents develop mental muscle in their children, helping them to learn to think clearly, build a vocabulary and cultivate convictions and critical thinking? 

Join the fabulous Sally Clarkson this Monday for her special e-conference as she and her daughter, Sarah, discuss these questions and more! Click here to find out more information and to register for this live event!

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