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Why Easter Matters {Week 4}

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Now that Easter is over it is easy to move on with our lives without being changed by what we have spent the last few weeks studying and celebrating.  I understand how a heart can grow indifferent to many of the Bible’s stories, including the death and resurrection of Jesus.

But we must not allow ourselves to grow cold to the truths we have just celebrated over the weekend. Lets think about how we should respond the easter message. And our response should be 2 fold. It must consist of faith and action.

Faith

We must have faith in the life Christ lived for us. We must believe that his life truly is our righteousness, that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we can add to it.

We must also have Faith in his death, our sins are forgiven, the wrath of God has been appeased and as a true follower of Jesus there is nothing we can do to undo that forgiveness or our salvation.

Lastly we must believe in the resurrection power. Christ has told us that we have been set free from the slavery of sin. We have power to live a righteous and godly life. It won’t be easy. God has never promised that following him would be easy, but he did say that he would be with us always and that because of the Holy Spirit within us we can fight sin and pursue holiness.

This faith should then move us to action.

Action

We pursue holiness and righteousness not because we can pay back God or earn his love, but because we love him and are grateful for all that he has done.

Our motivation for good works is a changed heart from which flows love and thankfulness. Martin Luther said that if we believe, if we have faith, then we won’t be able to help ourselves, we will break out in good works.

Faith is always accompanied by a desire to become more godly and to do righteousness, in this we imitated our savior, bring glory to God and show the world that we have been changed.

So my challenge for us this week is, to continue thinking about practical ways that the events of Easter should change us. How should we think about our sin? How can we bring back an excitement and joy in what God has done for us? How should that affect our good days and our hard days?

I hope you all have a blessed week as we finish up our Easter study.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

WEEK 4 Video

WEEK 4 Reading Plan
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WEEK 4 Memory Verse

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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

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A Time For Change

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Today is a sad day for me as it is my final day to write here at Good Morning Girls.  This ministry has been so very close to my heart since its birth so many years ago.  It is hard to say good bye.  I have told the story in the past of how Good Morning Girls began  and never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how it would grow and grow and grow.

Our God is alive and at work here at GMG!  I love the hunger and thirst you all have for His word!!!

I LOVE you guys! {I write this with tears in my eyes friends}  I truly deeply love you all.

It seems in my life that I go in cycles of feeling overwhelmed and then overcoming…then feeling overwhelmed –then overcoming.  I so long to be strong and capable and able to manage all that is on my plate –but like the spring flowers here in Ohio this week that got covered in snow…things happen.

The margins of my life have been very slim and as a result when I am overwhelmed, I find it hard to do anything well.  I struggle with being the wife, mom, sister, friend, and writer  that I long to be and at the end of the day –this troubles me.

As I look at these spring flowers – covered in snow…they display how I feel right now in life.  How I long to bloom where I’m planted but where I’m planted has much stress.  I sense God moving me on from this ministry at GMG.

Angela, Jennifer and Whitney are talented and godly writers and the ministry teams here are amazing!  I know with Angela at the lead, this ministry goes on strong and God has great things for you all here.

I love these girls!

GMGs

Angela, Whitney, Jennifer, Courtney

And so it is with great joy that I close out my ministry here with this strong passage in Romans 6:8-14…

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master,because you are not under the law, but under grace.

What a powerful passage of scripture!  We are dead to sin and alive in Christ!

Hallelujah!

Do not let sin reign in your life.

Put to death your sinful desires and overcome!

Offer every part of yourself to God as an instrument of righteousness!

THAT

- that is my final word for you – my dear GMGs.

And remember – overcoming will not always look like an earthly victory.  Sometimes, it’s in the stillness of the morning when God moves in your heart to do something new that we simply surrender and obey, even when we don’t know where He is taking us. Even when the thing He is asking us to let go of is good. Even when it breaks our heart to let people down.  We obey – because we are His.

Chime In:

Is it time for a change in your life?  Is there something God is asking you to step away from?

It may be a sin that you have clung to or it may be something good, that you sense is complete.

During this Holy Week, I encourage you to pause and really listen to your creator.  Is it time for a change?  Move on.

I love you all so very much.

Walk With the King,

Courtney, WomenLivingWell.org

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Because He Lives –I Can Face Tomorrow

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The crux of Christianity hangs on one fact…

The Resurrection of Jesus.

I Corinthians 15:13-17 says:

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God,
for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.
But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 

For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

Wow – do you see the strong words of this passage?

If there is no resurrection of Christ – our faith is useless, our preaching and faith are futile, the dead are not raised, we are false witnesses, and we are still in our sins.

Oh my! That’s serious friends.

But praise the Lord – the angel rolled back the stone and the tomb was empty for all to see!  Then Jesus appeared to over 500 people and then ascended into heaven!  AWESOME!!!!!

Jesus is alive – just as he said!  Our God is not dead – he surely is alive.  And because he is alive – we have the assurance that we too will be resurrected.

Today’s video is about the resurrection of Jesus and of us!  I will answer the question – “what will our heavenly bodies be like”?

(if you can’t see the video – click here to view it)

Life is hard.  Trials, fears, stress and worries come at us from every side.  Sometimes it is so overwhelming I can’t sleep or I break down in tears…but when morning comes and the sun rises, I am reminded that his mercies are new every morning.

Because He lives – I can face tomorrow.

Week 3 Challenge:

Read Luke 24 –the resurrection account of Jesus.  Stand in AWE!!!

Whatever you are facing today – take it to Jesus. He is alive! He loves you and He wants you to bring all your burdens to Him.

Walk with the King,
Courtney, WomenLivingWell.org

**Bonus**

Here’s a few links to some fun activities to do with your children to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus this week.

My Favorite Easter Morning Breakfast – Resurrection Rolls

 Ressurection Rolls

Fun Easter Story Cookies 

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Jesus Story Easter Eggs

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Week 3′s Reading Plan:

Week 3 Reading Plan

Week 3′s Memory Verse:

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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

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Easter…the Ultimate Love Story

Good Morning Girls- Women's Online Bible Study #WhyEasterMatters

The Easter story when you really read it, think about it and dive into it…..well it’s a love story.

It’s a story about a hero laying down His life for those who can’t help themselves, can’t save themselves.

People tangled in bondage to sins, failures, regrets and mistakes.

It’s a story of a Son’s radical obedience to His Father, all for the sake of reconciliation of sinful people.

Today’s reading we see the biggest moment in the history of the world (next to His birth)…our Savior’s death.

“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last.” Mark 15:37

The One who came to seek and save the lost, became the spotless lamb who was slain.

The One who loved well and lived a sinless life, died a gruesome sinner’s death.

The One who created life was sacrificed for the very ones He breathed life into.

And at His death, the curtain that separated our Holy God from sinful people, was torn in two…starting at the top. (Mark 15:38)

Isn’t that like God, He is always the one initiating, reaching out…..loving first.

And this “curtain”…it wasn’t your everyday curtain, not by any stretch of the imagination. It was around 60 feet in height, 30 feet in width and four inches thick!

The tearing of the curtain from top to bottom, showed that Christ’s death for our sins now gave us direct access to God. We no longer need a middle man.

Because of what Christ did on the cross, we can now approach God with confidence and boldness. (Hebrews 4:14-16) No longer do we need to go through a priest or sacrifice an animal to have our sins forgiven. Jesus is the High Priest who willingly, lovingly laid down His life so that we now have unlimited and direct access to God.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body …let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

And on that old rugged cross, our sweet Lord said, “It is finished”…..mission complete.

So sweet friends, allow this truth to not only enter your mind, but let it go further and let it penetrate deep into your heart and change you from the inside out! Don’t go through the motions this Easter but rather allow God to do a mighty work in your heart as you focus on the price He has paid for your salvation.

Don’t ever forget that the grace we experience from God is free…..but it is not cheap. Our freedom, our forgiveness, our hope in eternity was all purchased with His blood.

Let us live changed, focused and humbled by what Christ did on the cross for me and for YOU!

Let’s Talk:

How has Christ’s sacrifice changed you personally? How are you a different woman, wife, mother, friend, daughter because of what Jesus did for you on the cross?

Good Morning Girls- Women's Online Bible Study #WhyEasterMatters

Ohh and for those of you who have kids at home….keep telling them about Jesus! I found this note on my computer tonight from my oldest daughter…she wanted me to share this with you. :)

“God was nailed to the cross and He was in so so so much pain but He loved us so so so much that He died on the cross for us. But not just for us, for ALL of US! And you know how we know this is true? Because the Bible is God’s Words and it is the most important book in the world!”

 

Love God Greatly!

Angela- Good Morning Girls

 

 

 

Previous weeks:

Week 1: Why the Last Supper Matters
Monday: Nothing But the Blood…
Wednesday: When You’re Just Plain Tired of the Sacrifice…
Friday: Why the Last Supper Matters

Week 2: Why the Crucifixion Matters
Monday: What the Crucifixion Means for Us

 

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Why Easter Matters {Week 2} ~ What the crucifixion means for us

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Welcome back friends to week 2 of our 4 part #WhyEasterMatters study here at Good Morning Girls! We are so glad you are joining us! Last week we discussed why the Last Supper matters and saw how Jesus modeled for us the importance of being humble, serving others and remembering the amazing ways God has delivered us in the past.

This week we are focusing on: Why the Crucifixion Matters. In today’s video I highlight 3 points (of MANY) we need to keep in mind when discussing our Lord’s crucifixion and why it matters.

1. We are ALL sinners

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way…”- Isaiah 53:6 (NIV)

We are all in need of forgiveness, mercy and grace. No matter how hard we try, we can NOT earn our way to heaven. Our “good works” are like filthy rags compared to God’s holiness. (Isaiah 64:6)

2. We can have peace with God because of Christ’s shed blood on the cross

Jesus died in my place….in your place. I NEVER want that truth to ever be taken for granted. My sins put Him on the cross and I want that realization to daily rock my world. I want to love, forgive and extend grace extravagantly because of the price my sweet Jesus paid on my behalf.  Jesus suffered what was meant for me.

By shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserve and offered us His righteousness. When we trust Christ for our salvation, essentially we are making a trade. By faith, we trade our sin and its accompanying death penalty for His righteousness and life.- Chuck Swindoll

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3. We are loved

I know we’ve all heard the saying,

“It wasn’t the nails that kept Jesus on the cross, but His love.”

As women, I know we love watching movies where the hero of the story rescues the girl and saves the day from the evil villain and if we’re honest,  as we watch these movies our hearts secretly wish we had someone in our lives who would love us like that. What we don’t realize is that we already do, Jesus. He has already fought the mighty battle for our souls by going to the cross and dying in our place.

Honestly, I don’t think our minds can comprehend what Christ truly went through on the cross, not just physically but spiritually as well. We don’t know what it feels like to be separated from God and bearing the weight of the world’s sins for all time. Past. Present. Future.

For those of us who have accepted God’s free gift of salvation and have asked Jesus to take control of our lives and come into our hearts….our eternities were forever changed by what Christ did on that old rugged cross. Instead of a future of hell, Jesus laid down His life and now we have a future of heaven to look forward to. No matter how hard life gets, because of what Jesus did on the cross, we have a glorious future to look forward to.

Week 2: Video

{If you’re unable to see this video, you can view it here.}

 

Love God Greatly!
Angela- Good Morning Girls

 

 

 

Week 2: Challenge:

Because of what Christ did for us on the cross, we are no longer slaves to the sins in our lives that so easily entangle us. We now can have God’s forgiveness of our sins, embrace the grace He extends and look forward to our hope of heaven. Despite what is going on around us in this world, we have a bright future to look forward to when we get to heaven. This week focus on what Christ’s crucifixion means to you and how you are going to honor Jesus with the new life, the second chance,  you have been given. Write it out and share it with your group or a friend.

Week 2: Memory Verse
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Week 2: Reading Plan
Week 2 Reading Plan

Previous weeks:

Week 1: Why the Last Supper Matters
Monday: Nothing But the Blood…
Wednesday: When You’re Just Plain Tired of the Sacrifice…
Friday: Why the Last Supper Matters

 

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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

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Comfy Cooking with Kids

Today we have a special post from our dear friend, Janelle, who blogs at Comfy In The Kitchen!

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Hi Ladies! I am SO excited to introduce to you the release of my latest ebook, ”Comfy Cooking with Kids“…  designed to help guide you, guide your children, in the kitchen! 

 To celebrate, I’m practically giving it away for 99 cents at Amazon.com for 2 days only!

That’s RIGHT! From Wednesday, April 2nd until Friday, April 4th you can hurry over to get your Kindle version for JUST 99 cents!!! 

Please feel free to leave feedback on Amazon to let me know how you are enjoying the book! Also, feel free to share this deal with anyone- FB, Tweet, and Pin away! 

I pray you’ll enjoy using this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. As always, I will continue to pray for your families and the ministry you’re teaching them ….starting in the kitchen! 

About the ebook:

JanelleBookAmazonFile

Congratulations, Parents!
 You’re about to teach your children all about how to get “Comfy in the Kitchen!”

As you go through this e-book with your kiddos, you’ll teach them how to: Use many basic kitchen tools, incorporate simple cooking techniques, properly set a table, make delicious recipes the entire family will love, and even teach them how to clean-up afterwards! All of the recipes displayed are handpicked to be simple enough for small children to make with a parent and/or older children to make on their own. A variety of different cooking tools and techniques are highlighted to help your children gain cooking confidence.

Because cooking goes beyond just following instructions, “Food for thought” ideas are highlighted under each recipe giving you teachable moments to share with your children. Some examples include: “What is Shoe peg Corn? How do I separate an egg white from the yolk? And, why do we use oil rather than butter when we cook on high heat?” Who knows, maybe you might even learn a thing or two!

Gluten-free options are also available under each recipe to accommodate my allergy-suffering friends (hand raised!). So, here we go…. let those kiddos crack eggs, pour milk, measure, and make a mess. Did I say make a mess?! Ohhh, yes I did, but don’t worry, Mama- as I mentioned above, the kiddos will learn how to clean up the kitchen in the last chapter, they’ll even learn how to make their own cleaning supplies. Last, but not least, when the baking and cooking is done, make sure to sit down and take in those precious moments and indulge in the delicious creations you and your children have made together! 

Example Recipe: Classic French Toast 

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*Food for Thought: It’s easier to whisk eggs when you break the yolks first! Just poke them, then easily whisk together.
 *Gluten-Free Option: Use Udi’s GF bread.

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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin


Available for 48 hours at Amazon.com at the LOW introductory price of JUST 99 cents! Hurry!

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When you’re just plain tired of the sacrifice…

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“I’m sorry, this momma is done for the night.”

I had had it.

I was done with a capital D.  So much so that I even let the words slip out of my mouth in frustration to one of my kids.

It had been one of those weeks. One very sick little girl had spent three full nights awake with a high fever.  She was kept company by a brother who kept waking up claiming that he “just couldn’t sleep” (which I’m sure was legit, but oh.my.goodness).  Another was seriously trying my patience in the obedience department, and the fourth sweet child just wanted me to listen for hours on end to the long list of inventions (mostly involving jet propulsion and duct tape) that had been forming in that brain of his that never stops.

Jesus help me.

I signed up for this, I know full well.  And I am blessed beyond measure to be sure.  And truly, all these years later, I expect the unexpected and the sacrifice that comes with kids.  I really do.  Oh, I know it in my head, but when my flesh and my heart are weak, Jesus help me.  In my flesh, I’m not naturally built to handle this kind of sleep deprivation on a regular basis and still practice any resemblance of patience at the end of a long day.

At our weakest moments, if we’re completely honest, I’m guessing that we’ve all been here about something at some point in our lives. Deep down in our core, we’re just plain tired of the sacrifice.

Maybe you’re the honest, loyal employee who fails to get recognized while others cheat their way to the top.

Maybe you’re the church worker who has faithfully, quietly served behind the scenes without an accolade in years.

Maybe you’re the caregiver who provides selflessly, or the patient who fights endlessly.

Or maybe you’re the friend, daughter, sister, wife, mom… who always seems to be on the giving end, but rarely on the receiving one.

Maybe, you’re just really, really trying to live for Jesus, and the giving up of the things of this world seems like an overwhelming price to pay.

The world and a thousand self-help books will tell you to quit. That the sacrifice is too much. That you should look out for you.

But Jesus came with a counter-cultural message that would change the world.  And He didn’t just preach it.  He actually lived it.

He served in the suffering…

When Jesus gathered with His disciples at the Last Supper, He had every right to demand to be treated like their King. His body was surely tired from some of his last grueling days of ministry on earth. He had selflessly served – over and over feeding the poor and healing the sick - yet the Jews continued in their unbelief that Jesus really was the Messiah, even after witnessing miracle after miracle.  This man of sacrifice served even with the knowledge that some of his closest followers would soon betray and deny Him.

No other King in history has given more and received less. But then again, He wasn’t just any other King…

And if that all wasn’t enough, in the midst of His serving, He carried the heavy weight of His imminent death. And He could have cried out, “Father, I’m done. The sacrifice is too great.”

But instead, he put Himself aside, and He humbly stooped down to wash the feet of sinners. Oh, friend, don’t let the repetition of this story or the simplicity of this act distract you from the profound mystery that is Christ. Instead of wallowing in the dark days which were upon Him or demanding recognition for saving the world, Jesus demonstrated that he came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28).  He would even kneel down and serve the very one who was about to hand Him over to be killed. That is unthinkable in human terms. It was far from a job fit for the King of Kings, but it was a profound example of how those of us who are in Christ should live our lives.

You see, in Christ, everything looks different. 

Those sleepless nights, and those hard days when I’m just plain tired of the sacrifice?  It all looks different because of Jesus. And with His strength, I can serve instead of seeking to be served.  I can sacrifice even in the midst of suffering, and I don’t have to wait until I’m appreciated or in a good season to initiate love, encouragement, and generosity to others. I can humble myself and not expect earthly recognition, knowing that it is far better to treasure Christ.

Why does the Last Supper matter?  Because it begs us to take our eyes off of ourselves, and to NEVER FORGET the willing sacrifice that Jesus made for you and for me.  And when we really remember deep down to our core, then we can say…

No sacrifice is too great.

Father, not my will, but Yours be done…

 

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

~ John 13:14-15

At His feet,

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