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Why The Resurrection Matters

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I love going to church on Easter Sunday and seeing the cross draped in white, the color of new life, purity, and holiness. And I love that the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated in the spring where we have daily evidences of this new life.

Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time.
- Martin Luther

As with all things in scripture it is easy to become so familiar with the stories that they don’t affect our hearts like they should. Here are a few things I would like us to remember.

The Resurrection Involved the Trinity

Nothing short of the power of God can raise someone from the dead. In the resurrection of Jesus we see all 3 members of the Trinity participate in this amazing miracle.

God the father had his hand in the resurrection of Jesus. I love this because to me it shows the tenderness and love of a father towards his son. It’s a sign of affection after all the suffering and torture Jesus went through.  Acts 13:33-34, Romans 6:4

Christ raised himself from the dead, because he is powerful like that. We tend to view Jesus as meek and mild, a sandal wearing man who had compassion on people. But he was also the almighty warrior prince, who is the creator of the heavens and the earth, who sustains our lives and who, as the Captain of the heavenly armies, defeated Satan and rescues his bride.

“Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” John 10:17,18.

But we can’t forget the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. He also played an active and vital role in this divine act of resurrection. (1 Pe. 3:18, Rom. 8:11)

The Resurrection Completes Our Salvation

The resurrection is the piece that completes our salvation. It was through his life that we received his righteousness and it was through Christ’s death that we received the forgiveness of sin, but it was through his resurrection that our righteousness and forgiveness were sealed. Rising from the dead Christ broke once and for the all the powers of death and hell.

Therefore we can say with boldness, “death where is your victory?” and know with confidence that while death is real it cannot hold us down for long.

The Resurrection Gives Us Power

Can you believe that the same power that raised Jesus from death lives within us? This always amazes me.

We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:4

Through the resurrection we have been given the power to overcome sin and to live a godly life. Don’t listen to Satan’s whispered lies that you can never change or overcome your struggles. When you feel defeated remember who lives within you! Remember the power that you have inherited and go boldly into your day.

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
—John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople; sermon, ca. 400

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

jenthorn.com

Why The Crucifixion Matters

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We have all heard and read the crucifixion story many times. In fact, we may be so familiar with the facts of the story that we are not as moved by it as we once were.

We look at the passion week as the time in Christ’s life where his suffering begins, but his entire life was one of suffering. Even as a small child he experienced an attempt on his life that caused his parents to have to flee the country.  Not much is known about his childhood years but I would assume that he was no stranger to loneliness since he was the perfect Son of God living among people who were filled with sin and selfishness. We know that once he became a man and started his ministry he was ridiculed and rejected not only by the religious authorities, but also by his own people. He was tempted by the devil and then tortured by the sinners he came to save. Horatius Bonar said that his entire life was “but a pilgrimage to Calvary with the cross upon his shoulders.”

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Is. 53:3

And he did this for you and for me!

He suffered for those he came to save and his suffering ultimately ended in his death on the cross.

Why does the Crucifixion matter?

On the cross Christ experienced the full force of God’s wrath against sin. Every single ounce of God’s justified anger, which was once meant for us, was satisfied by the blood of the one who was and is holy, righteous and perfect.  It is hard for us to understand how great a debt we owe because we don’t really understand the horrendous nature of sin.

The crucifixion also matters because on the cross God’s love shines most brightly. You want to know how much God loves you? Look to the cross where he sacrificed his son for your sins–many of which we aren’t even sorry for. If you ever doubt the love of God for you go to the cross and really think about what he has done for you. Marvel, weep, and rejoice.

Through the crucifixion you were rescued from the power of sin and the torture of hell. You were placed into the family of God, given Christ’s robe of righteousness, sealed with the Holy Spirit, and given a new heart. This kind of love can’t ever be broken or undone.

While we must give an answer to God for our life, Christ has become our answer. We experience many sorrows in this life, but Jesus became the “Man of Sorrows” in order to procure for us an inheritance which includes everlasting joy in the presence of God himself.

I am not sure if you are familiar with this song, but we sing it often at our church. This should be our response to the cross of our Lord.

“Man of Sorrows,” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we,
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full redemption—can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die,
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
To His kingdom us to bring,
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Looking to Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

jenthorn.com

Why The Last Supper Matters

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Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
1 Cor. 10:14, 21-22

As Paul gave these words of admonition to the people in Corinth he was reminding them of things that they already knew but were in danger of forgetting.

I don’t know about you, but it seems that many Christians are plagued by spiritual forgetfulness. I sure am! It seems that as soon as there are difficult circumstances in my life a kind of amnesia sets in that causes me to forget the goodness of God and many of his other attributes. But this doesn’t only happen when things are hard. Others experience spiritual amnesia when thing are going well. God is easily pushed aside and forgotten when life is easy. In such circumstances we feel like we don’t need him.

It had only been a little over 30 years since the death of Jesus and already the church in Corinth was in danger of forgetting important truths. One such truth was the evil of idolatry and the danger of their selfishness and irreverence in observing the Lord’s Supper.

Paul spoke to the Corinthian church with real affection. He cared deeply for their spiritual well being and knew where they needed to pressed: they needed to reject false gods and demonstrate love and holiness when participating in celebrating the Lord’s Supper. We too fall into the same dangers the Corinthian church did. Here are some things we need to remember.

The last supper Jesus had with his friends before he was arrested was also the Passover meal. It was a meal where the Jews were suppose to remember their miraculous rescue out of Egypt. But the passover was also pointing them to something even grandeur, when a rescuer would come and save them from the power of sin and hell.

When Jesus had the Passover meal with his disciples the time had come when it was no longer necessary to look to the Priests and the blood sacrifices of animals for the remission of sins but to him–a great high priest who would take their place and offer his body as the final sacrifice, bridging the great divide between God and man.

For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1 Cor. 5:7

As truly amazing as the rescue from Egypt was it was time to start remembering something even greater – a better deliverance and a better Deliverer. This deliverer was selfless and pure, holy and full of love, and completely without sin that Moses pales in comparison. And he brought a deliverance that was eternal and would change cold hearts of stone into living beating, hearts of flesh.

Like the Corinthians we are often in danger of forgetting the value and priority of the Lord’s supper. Instead of it being a holy, humble, joyful, remembrance of and believing in Jesus as we celebrate our deliverance together, we think it to be a very little and non-important thing. We do not prepare ourselves before taking communion. We often come without repenting, or giving much thought to the grace of God in the death of Jesus. We end up treating it like a mere ritual rather than a gift from God meant to strengthen our faith and produce deeper communion between God and his people, and his people with one another.

So, do not forget. Fight the amnesia that creeps into our minds by returning to the central event in the history of the world, and the most important work God has even done.

It is time to remember the death of Christ.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

A Healthy Spirit

George F. Watts

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
1. Cor. 7:1

Can you believe that our Intentionally Focused study is coming to an end? I feel like this session just flew by. This week we are learning to be women who are intentionally focused on our health.

I loved Clare’s post this week where she challenged us to examine our desires, struggles and sins in the area of health. If you haven’t read it yet check it out here.

In our verse for today Paul is calling us be healthy in both our body and our spirit. We are challenged to purify ourselves, to get rid of the things in our lives that contaminate us. Basically it is a call to put to death our sins.

Today I want us to look our spiritual health. Even as Christians we are able to become spiritually weak and sick. This spiritual sickness weakens our faith and leads us away from Jesus. Like any illness, there are accompanying symptoms that tell us something is wrong. We must know these symptoms so that when we see them in our lives we will begin to look for the remedy. Below is a list of the symptoms. We may not experience all of them at the same time, but I am sure we have all experienced many of them at some point in our Christian walk.

Symptoms of spiritual sickness

1. A feeling of coldness or hardness towards the things of God
2. Boredom with the gospel
3. Worldly-mindedness, covetousness
4. Prayerlessness
5. Neglect of the word of God
6. Lack of love for the people of God
7. Neglect of, or disinterest in, corporate worship
8. Lack of hunger for and effort in spiritual growth
9. An ongoing complaining spirit
10. We are no longer bothered or saddened by our sin

Identifying such symptoms and diagnosing spiritual sickness is good, but more than that is needed. We need to seek the cure for what is ailing us.

Cures for spiritual sickness

There are many different remedies God uses in the lives of his children in order to heal them and make them stronger. I’d like to focus on two.

1. Afflictions

Contrary to what some teach, afflictions are not always a symptom of spiritual sickness. They are often part of the treatment God uses us to restore our health. This may seem a bit weird. How can afflictions heal someone who is spiritually ill? We need to remember that God’s ways are not our ways. He is the ultimate physician and sometimes the surgeon needs to take a knife to his patients and cut out the parts that are causing the person to be sick.

Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.
Proverbs 20:30

Sometimes God will afflict our conscience and convict us of our sins. We will feel restless and uneasy until we finally repent and turn once again towards God.

Sometimes God may send physical illness in order to get our attention. Not all sickness is a discipline from God but we sure can use that time to reflect on a few things. Any time we are not feeling well we should remember that life is temporary and that God has placed us here for a specific reason. It should make us pray more and ponder the fact that we are finite while our God is infinite in all his ways and loves us anyway. It should kill our pride and instead humble us before the throne of grace.

2. His Word

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation
1 Peter 2:2

Just like a healthy person eats good food so we must also feed our spirit healthy food. This is why we have been given the word of God. The more we consume it the stronger, wiser, holier and healthier we will be. But we shouldn’t just gulp it down and move on to the next thing. We need to chew it slowly, thinking about what we have read, letting it settle into our souls and hearts so that we can be changed. The race is not about who can read through the Bible the most times but who can perservere to the end through the power of Christ found in the word.

“Regularity is also essential; we have too much common sense to try and eat enough on the weekend, to suffice our bodies for the remainder of the week; then why be so foolish in adopting this device to the soul? Time must be found for communion with God even though it means an hour less in bed each night.”
- A.W. Pink

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2

In the long run a healthy body will benefit us very little if we are spiritually sick and weak. We are called to be good stewards of all that God has given us, this includes our mind and our body.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

jenthorn.com

Building Your Home

House

Photo by Werner Kunz

We already talked about the need for us to reach out to others. But a part of the ministry that God has prepared for us is found within the four walls of our homes.

The verse for today is a sobering truth. A woman has the power to destroy her home, or create a dwelling that is beautiful and strong.

The Christian’s home should be a sanctuary to those who live there; a place where people are safe from the seductions of the world, where the weary find rest, the sad find comfort, and where character is formed. The home should be joyful, peaceful, and filled with love.

Does this describe your home? No? Well, It doesn’t describe mine either. Not that often. It is easy to look at our homes, see all the things that are not meeting this standard, and feel discouraged and frustrated. But God has not left us alone and without help or hope in home-building!

But how does a wise woman build a home that is God-honoring and uplifting to those who walk in the front door? Here are two ways.

Build it on God’s Word

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man
who built his house on the rock.”
Mt. 7:24

Like the whole of our spiritual life, to build a godly home means building it on the foundation of God’s word. Such a home will remain strong and healthy even in the midst of storms and struggles. But to do this we must first begin with a little deconstruction–repentance. We must tear down and turn away from all those things we have built in our homes that threaten them. Maybe it is our attitudes, our words, our actions, or the absence of love. Notice I’m talking about us here.

It is so easy to find fault with everyone else who lives in our homes from the behaviour of our children to the attitude of our spouses. But as we focus on the shortcomings of others we begin to become complaining, nagging, critical, and discontented women.  Building a godly home begins with repentance and continues with pursuing godliness.

We’ve all heard the idea that the woman sets the tone of the home. There is much truth in this. Therefore we need to examine ourselves and where we need to grow. What virtues are we lacking? Are we kind, patient, gracious, fun, calm, attentive, hard working, loving, affectionate, and generous? I know I’m not, and yet the word of God calls me to this for his glory, my good, and the good of those around me.

Without the word of God we cannot build, or rebuild our homes, into happy, healthy dwelling places.

Keep Jesus at The Center

It is a mistake commonly made today when children become the center of the home. Where schedules and priorities revolve around their interests and desires. It is equally as dangerous when the home revolves around the father or the mother. You see, even though I believe that my husband is the head of our home, and that we work together to lead our children well, there is one Lord over all things, including our home. Jesus must be the center of our home, or we are making someone or something else the priority. What does this mean?

For Jesus to be the center of our homes means that the priorities and pursuits, and the rhythms and rituals, of our homes are done in light of his presence and worthiness. It means that for me, as a wife and mother, I am not only serving my family, but my God, in what I do.

Practically speaking we keep Jesus at the center of our homes when we keep him at the center of our own lives. When we are submitting to his word, following his ways, and seeking his glory.

Home is the true wife’s kingdom. There, first of all places, she must be strong and beautiful. She may touch life outside in many ways, if she can do it without slighting the duties that are hers within her own doors. These are hers, and no other one’s.
- JR. Miller

Looking to Jesus,

jen-sig

 

 

 

jenthorn.com

 

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