February 2004


This months:

Thought: Warming our Hearts in His Love
Story: Won't you let me carry that?
Homeschool Tip: Buckle Up!
Hymn/Poem: God's Valentine

Warming our Hearts in His Love

From the moment I opened the door the frigid air and biting wind chilled my entire body. I wanted desperately to be warm againto leave this cold behind and bask in the warmth of a fire. I raced into the car and shut the door, still chattering. Out my window I watched the snow fall on the already white ground. Everything around me testified to the freezing temperatures.

As I tried to de-thaw, a question hit me by surprise. Could it be that more than just my physical body suffered from the cold? Had my heart also grown cold? Id been writing and telling others about Gods love, yet in all honesty I wasnt basking in Gods presence like I ought. Could my heart, as well as my fingers, really be turning blue?

Throughout our lives, we battle cold hearts. The icicles of pride cling to us. The cares and worries of this world drench us in freezing rain. And although our spiritual knowledge glistens to others much like a fresh blanket of snow glistens in the sunlight, our hearts, like that same field of snow, are actually cold and on the verge of freezing.

The remedy to a cold heart is simple. We need to warm our hearts in Gods love!

Were all familiar with John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son. But have we let Gods love warm our hearts to the very core? Will we let His love melt away all our pride, fears, and desires?

Sadly, we often refuse to let Gods love transform us. We see His love from a distance. We talk about the glow of His fire, yet fail to approach it ourselves. We often dont let Gods love transform us because were unaware that we need Gods warmth. Or maybe we dont bask in Gods love because we dont want to see ourselves as God sees us. Gods love, like a brilliant fire, will expose our deepest thoughts. And in light of Gods love, even our good thoughts and deeds appear filthy and sin-infested. Are we willing to admit we have nothing but frozen hearts in need of God?

Coming to Gods great love involves letting our old thoughts and feelings melt away. Gods love dissolves our fears and pride. His love even brings pain as His feelings begin to circulate through our life. Yet if well only let it, Gods love will impart His life and health to our cold hearts. Why do we insist on freezing when we weve been invited to snuggle next to the fire?

Next time the frigid wind chills your body, remember that your heart doesnt need to chatter. Warm your heart in Gods love!

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Won't you let me carry that?

Daniel loved to carry things. As a toddler, gigantic stuffed animals twice his size often filled his little hands. As he grew older, he carried larger handfuls of toys and just about everything else he could find. His tendency to carry everything himself caused him to constantly drop something, fall, or bang into a wall. Black and blue marks often dotted his body. Despite the bruises, Daniel never allowed anyone to carry anything for him.

Daniel and his father crammed a tent and as many supplies as they could into their backpack. They were going backpacking together, and Daniel could hardly wait to begin their hike. He had been looking forward to this special time with his father for months. His mind raced with the anticipation of seeing the breathtaking mountain peaks and listening to the constant chatter of the forest creatures.

Daniel and his father finally stood at the base of the mountain. Every bit as obstinate as ever, Daniel insisted on carrying the backpack, though he could barely even lift it to his shoulders. An onlooker might have wondered if he had even heard his fathers offer to carry the backpack for him.

At first, Daniels shoulders hardly sagged under the immense weight. But soon the constant pressure made Daniels neck ache. Daniel tried to ignore the growing pain.

A few miles later Daniel and his father paused at a small hut a few yards off the path. There Daniels father purchased fishing supplies and some last minute items. Daniel again insisted on carrying everything. He made a pitiful sight stumbling after his father, trying to juggle a backpack, fishing pole, and bucket on his tiny 9-year-old frame. But still Daniel ignored his fathers constant offers to carry his burdens.

As they hiked to the campsite, Daniels little mind, instead of thrilling at the beauty around him and the opportunity to be with his father, dreaded each new step. His arms felt like they were going to fall off any moment, and his legs ached terribly. Daniel could think of nothing except his fatigued body.

Father, Im so tired. I dont think I can go another step, Daniel moaned. He loved his father and wanted so desperately to do a good job carrying the supplies, but he felt so tired. Tears threatened to overflow his eyes any moment.

I know you cant carry all those burdens. Wont you let me carry everything for you? Daniels father repeated for the hundredth time that hour his offer. My shoulders are big enough to handle it all.

But Daniel marched on as if he hadnt heard his father. He continued to moan and complain and ask his father for help, but refused to let his father take the burdens from his shoulders.

Miserable mile passed miserable mile. Finally, Daniel couldnt stand the strain another second. Take them, Daddy, he whispered. Im not even strong enough to put them into your hands.

Quick as lightening, Daniels father whisked both Daniel and all the supplies into his strong arms. As Daniel rested his weary head against his fathers strong breast, he wondered why he had ever insisted on carrying anything. From his fathers arms, he could again notice the breathtaking sites around him. He could hear the robin singing and could relish in the invigorating mountain air. Best of all, he could feel his fathers love around him. He felt certain there couldnt be a happier place on earth than in his fathers arms. I will let my father carry all my burdens and me too from now on, Daniel whispered as he drifted into a sweet slumber.

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Buckle up!

Entering the passenger side of the car for the first time with my child behind the wheel was an eye-opening experience. Id heard many stories of teaching children to drive, but nothing had entirely prepared me. I grabbed my seatbelt as my son floored the accelerator around a tight turn.

What are you doing? I gasped once my breath came back. Slow down!

But Mom, you take that turn like that, came his innocent reply.

I panicked as I realized that my son, without any formal instruction from me drives exactly like me. And as I thought about it, my daughter drives like me too. I suddenly realized that both my children had been learning to drive from me for years. Every time we got in the car together theyd been watching me. Theyd learned all my maneuvers and fears, right down to my unreasonable fear of parallel parking.

Children are constantly learning. Every day, every hour, and every minute your children are watching and mimicking your actions. A scary thought when we remember that the Bible tells us even our righteous deeds are as filthy rags!

Our sinfulness should make us eager to buckle ourselves and our children into Gods perfect hands. Sadly, we often try to become the perfect moms and teachers ourselves. We end up teaching our children to cover their sinful hearts in self righteousness instead of Gods righteousness. How much better to teach them to run to God constantly! Traveling in Gods strength instead of our own is the only safe way to travel. So buckle up and rest in His care!

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God's Valentine

When I look at Gods valentine, the cross,
How can I help but count all things loss?
It was on that stump of wood,
Jesus suffered all the things I should.

He knew all my evil, that there was no good in me,
Yet He willingly hung there on a tree.
The Almighty Creator, the Lamb of God so fair
Was dying for me, who crucified Him there.

Oh love so great, oh love so free
What have I to offer Thee?
All thats in me is sin and despair,
And a heart thats in desperate need of repair.

Then I heard my Savior say,
My child, thats why I died that day.
Will you just give Me your heart,
And let Me my life and love into you impart?

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Unless otherwise indicated, all articles written and copyrighted by Katherine Loop, 2004. To sign up to receive these free monthly emails each month, please click here.