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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!

{Why My Response Matters} in the here and now…

let God 

“Up from the grave He arose!”

I closed my eyes as I belted out the words, and I could hear my momma’s off-key voice so clearly that she might as well have been sitting right next to me.

All of those Easter Sundays growing up, she’d belt out those words next to me.  She could hardly sit still, because she believed and lived the hope of those words every day.  Every year, just like the year before, she’d grab my hand and lift it higher than I felt comfortable, and with every new note, she’d pump our fists together in the air, worshipping with all that she had.

Off-key loud and all.

And now my poor boy sits next to me, and he might be praying that none of his friends are watching.  It’s Easter Sunday, and I just can’t contain myself.

But then Monday came. Life got hard. The crown of thorns, the cross, the nails - it all got blurry, and my faith was challenged once again.

It’s a vicious cycle – a constant struggle – this place where my faith and this world meet.

I long for consistent, childlike faith. I have this girl who prays bold prayers.  She may only be five, but she asks for God’s power to show up like you wouldn’t believe.  Her voice has strength behind it, and there’s not a doubt in her mind that God can more than handle what she’s just laid at His feet. But me? I belt out praises of His victory over sin and death on Easter morning, and an hour later I’m doubting His plan in the here and now.

He fed the five thousand. He walked on water. Yet the very next day, the crowd followed him to the other side of the sea and had the audacity to say, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe?”

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.” ~ John 6:35-36

You have seen me and still you do not believe.

Then came the cross.

Oh, the cross… where He took on the sin of all of humanity. The punishment that should have been mine.  Then came the resurrection. The victory that I sang about so passionately on Sunday morning. Then all too quickly my focus shifted, and the crowd’s words may as well have been my own: “Then what sign do you do, that I may see and believe?”  I’m daring Him to prove Himself again and again come Monday.

As if the cross wasn’t enough.

So before the days and the weeks and this messed up world starts to blur my view of the cross, I must stop and remind myself of this:

The cross not only gives hope for eternity.  The cross also gives power in the here and now.

At the foot of the cross, perfect love is poured out.

At the foot of the cross, forgiveness is available in abundance.

At the foot of the cross, grace is generously given.

At the foot of the cross, the weak are made strong.

At the foot of the cross, death is conquered.

At the foot of the cross, lasting peace is found.

At the foot of the cross, there is freedom and NEW LIFE.

At the foot of the cross, I can lay down the here and now, knowing that I can trust the One who has already done the work for me.

I’ve tried living on my own strength.  Oh, I’ve tried.  And even if I muster up every ounce of energy that I have left, I know by now that I won’t get anywhere, worth anything if I don’t start each day – and live each moment – at the foot of the cross.

Today and every day, I have a choice. My response matters.

Jesus, I trust you in the here and now. Take me back to the foot of the cross.

 

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness

of God’s power for us who believe him.

This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…”

~ Ephesians 1:19-20

**Let’s talk: What is it that keeps you from trusting God in the “here and now”?

At His feet,

Why The Resurrection Matters

Matt28a
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

A Time For Change

flowers in the snow

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

Because He Lives –I Can Face Tomorrow

Banner week 3

 

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 

 Easter-story-cookies

Jesus Story Easter Eggs

Resurrection Eggs 002

Week 3′s Reading Plan:

Week 3 Reading Plan

Week 3′s Memory Verse:

MemoryVerse-03

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