Christian Perspective


November 2004

This month's:

Thought: Missing the Message
Story: Seeing the King
Homeschool Tip: Teaching Through the Holidays
Hymn/Poem: God is Speaking--Am I listening?

Thought: Missing the Message

The officers on the deck of the Californian peered out over the dark ocean waters. In the distance they thought they saw rocket signals-an odd sight considering they were in the middle of the Atlantic . The signals, of course, had to be coming from a nearby ship. But why? The captain ordered his crew to use a Morse lamp to try to contact the distant ship, but they were unable to find anything out. So they ignored the signals as nothing more than a festive show.

Meanwhile, on the nearby ship, Jack Phillips frantically radioed the distress signal "SOS". His ship was sinking. They needed help--fast.

The Californian was close enough to assist the sinking ship. But they mistook the rocket signals and never heard the radio messages. Their radio operator had fallen soundly asleep for the night. He slept through the urgent pleas. Had he only been awake and heard the signals… But he slept on. And as a result, the Californian did absolutely nothing to aid the sinking ship.

The ship, the famous and tragic Titanic, plunged to the bottom of the sea. Over a thousand men, some of whom might have been rescued, met their deaths before dawn the next morning.

Every day God is sending us an important message. He is trying to show us Himself--His power, might, and love. He is trying to show us our sin so that we will cling to Him alone. Right now, today, in the trials or blessings that surround us, God is trying to get our attention. Are we listening?

"Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?"       Proverbs 8:1 NIV

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Story: Seeing the King

Abigail sighed as she gathered up the last plate from the large oak table. She dreaded going into the kitchen and starting the long dishwashing process. Abigail's family earned extra income by taking in boarders, and cooking certainly produced a large array of dishes!

Abigail knew the mound would be unusually large tonight as they had two extra guests staying with them. With another little sigh, Abigail turned and headed for the kitchen. Her eyes wandered out the little window over the sink. Sometimes she could barely make out the King's distant castle. But she couldn't see anything but city smog tonight. Her heart felt sad. Would she ever see the King?

Seeing the King had always been Abigail's ambition. She longed to please Him and to know Him. Her longing only made the dishwashing seem more intolerable. How she wished she could be in the King's presence right now!

Abigail didn't notice the solitary figure watching her from the corner. It wouldn't have really mattered if she had noticed him. He was just one of their old boarders. Just as she finished drying the last plate, however, he ventured to speak. "Could I have a glass of water?" he petitioned.

Abigail, who had just finished congratulating herself on her completion of the dishes and was already half way out of the kitchen, did not necessarily welcome this new interruption. She grabbed the nearest cup she could find, filled it with water, and thumped it on the table in front of the old man without saying a word.

Abigail hastily threw on her hat and coat. She served on a committee in charge of teaching the King's laws and administering His counsels and needed to hurry to a meeting. Meetings and projects for the king took up a great deal of Abigail’s time.  She wanted so desperately to please the King and to see Him…

In her haste, Abigail nearly tripped over the old boarder. "I'm sorry," she muttered.

The old man smiled. "That's all right," he replied. "I was trying to find you. I wondered if I could accompany you on your trip?"

Abigail could hardly hide her horror at the thought. Why, the old man would slow her down! "That's okay, I'd better go by myself. I'm late," she replied as graciously as possible. Without another word, she headed out the door.

Abigail seemed to constantly bump into the old man. So it didn't surprise her greatly when she ran into him at a meeting one day. But how had he gotten there? She wondered. Like usual, he had asked to go with her, and like usual, she had declined his offer. Why had he come anyway?

Abigail soon found the answer to all her questions. A gentleman arose and announced that he had brought a special guest with him. "Please welcome," he concluded, "the king."

Abigail nearly fell off her seat. The king? The old man was the king? It couldn't be! No, surely not! But, yes, it was!

Abigail hung her head in shame and confusion. All those nights while she had washed dishes and wished she could get a glimpse of the king, he had been in the same room with her. She could have spoken with him. She could have learned from him. But instead, she hadn't even realized he was there! She had constantly bumped into the king in the hallway or the marketplace or the park, yet she had never acknowledged him. She had sent petition after petition to the castle begging for a glimpse of the king. And all that time the king had been right there, watching and waiting for her. Everyday, everywhere, he had been there, and she…she had missed him.

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Homeschool Tip: Teaching Through the Holidays

Opinions on how we should (or if we should) celebrate the holidays vary drastically among Christians. Some have huge celebrations, while others have virtually no celebration at all. Some of us glow with excitement when we think of the holidays, some of us cringe, and some of us don't know what to do or think of it all. But regardless of your personal view or participation in the holidays, this time of year provides special opportunities for you as a teacher.

After all, like it or not, the sights and sounds of the holidays fill the air, so to speak. It is impossible to go anywhere or do anything without observing the changes in the environment around us. Why not take advantage of the season's uniqueness to explore with your children new depths of God's truths? There are hundreds of ways to use the season as a training tool with your children.

If you're wondering where you could find time for this, let me just assure you that taking advantage of the season doesn't have to take a lot of time. What you do can be adjusted to fit the time God has given you. I've also found that I often need to readjust my priorities so that I can spend the time I need on what's really important-God's kingdom.

Below are a few ideas to get you thinking about teaching God's truths in new and refreshing ways through the holiday season. Of course, they are just ideas. As you read them, ask God to help you think of what might work for your family.

Looking up a scripture a day on God's character with your children, writing out the scripture on special paper, and putting it in a box is an easy and meaningful way to prepare for Thanksgiving. Then on Thanksgiving have fun pulling out your scriptures and praising God for His character. Or you could hide the scriptures around the house and have your children go on a treasure hunt.

Decorating with Scripture verses around the house is another idea. Pick a theme and write out a dozen or so scripture verses on that theme. Attach them with removable putty over a few key light switches throughout the house so that you and your family can read them throughout the month. This activity only takes an hour or so, but it really helps the whole family ponder a concept. You can also count the activity as handwriting if you have your older children write the verses.

Doing simple plays and skits using old sheets as costumes can often help bring the Christmas story and its meaning to life. Younger children can act out the Christmas Story while Dad reads it aloud. Older children can design their own plays or compile the parts so that they can each read their character. Plays don't have to be church productions to be meaningful.

Simple devotions can also help your family keep focused. An easy idea for the rest of November would be to cut out a handful of leaves from multi-colored paper and put magnets on their backs. Every day, write an attribute of God on each leaf and stick the leaf on the refrigerator. Ponder and think about that attribute and what it means for you. Or skip the magnets and glue your leaf each day unto a large poster-board tree.

Evaluate how to decorate your home and consider putting up your Christmas decorations slowly as you reflect on their significance. For example, pull out one character of your nativity scene a day, and read about/think about that character's response to Christmas as you do. Ask God, How did this person respond to your message? And then, How am I responding to your message?

For older children, assign them the task of coming up with an encouraging family activity. This will force them to think about God's message, pray, and apply a lot of skills.

While the above suggestions only scratch the surface of the limitless possibilities of ways you can teach through the holidays, I hope they will get you started. I'd like to bring this tip to a close with one parting thought. Be sure to ask God how to use the holiday season to teach your children more about Him. That is what you really want them to learn.

--By Cris Loop

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Hymn/Poem: God is Speaking--Am I Listening?

In the morning quiet
As I my Bible read,
God through His Word speaks --
Speaks right to my need.

But often I miss God's message,
And His words remain mere words on a page.
Instead of hearing God's voice,
I read His truth like an actor on a stage.

Each and every day,
In the common events of life,
God speaks often to my heart--
Speaks through each joy, pain, and strife.

But often I miss His message,
As I struggle on my own.
And instead of seeing things God's way,
I let pride turn my heart to stone.

In the midst of life's trials,
When things all seem to go awry,
Even then God is speaking,
Calling me to place my trust on high.

But often I miss His message
And forget that He has everything in His hands.
I worry, struggle, and fret,
As I make my own well-laid plans.

In everything, I am convinced,
God to me is whispering.
Yes, indeed, God is speaking,
But, the question is, am I listening?

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Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, Copyright 2004. Feel free to pass these e-mails along to others in whole or part (please include a link to our website when you do). If you do not regularly receive Christian Perspective's monthly e-mails and updates and would like to receive them, please send your e-mail address to If you would like to be removed from the e-mail list, simply let us know, and we will promptly remove you. We'd always love to hear from you. Drop us a line sometime and share with us your thoughts and suggestions.