January/February 2005



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This month's:

Thought: When You Don't Feel Like It
Story: Choosing to Train
Homeschool Tip: Problems, Pressures and Principles

 

Thought: When You Don't Feel Like It

 

            We all struggle with spiritual discouragement and lethargy.  Some days our circumstances threaten to overwhelm us, and we struggle just to pray.  Many times we just don’t feel like doing the things we know we should.  For one reason or another, God sometimes seems far off and unreachable. 

            David faced times like these in his life.  The Psalms are filled with verses that express his despair and feeling of abandonment. 

Yet the Psalms also give us the key to living victoriously during the dark periods of life.  Let’s take a quick look at Psalm 119:89-95[i].

“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.  Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.  They stand this day according to Your ordinances…”

My circumstances or feelings have not changed God.  He is the same God today as He was when He hung the stars in the sky, led the Israelites through the Red Sea , and fed the five thousand. 

 “For all things are Your servants…” 

All things, even the things affecting me right now, are God’s servants.  The circumstance, people, and events around me are all under God.  They are His servants, designed to help and bless me spiritually.

“If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.  I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts.  The wicked wait for me to destroy me; I shall diligently consider Your testimonies.”

Recalling God’s faithfulness and control over everything that touches us gives us strength to walk with God even when we feel like giving up in despair.  After all, our feelings and circumstances have not changed God.  He is perfectly capable of sustaining us if we will only let Him.  We simply need to choose to delight in and diligently consider God’s precepts (His principles and character) despite how we feel.  Choosing to delight in God might not be easy.  It might even involve hard work.  But only God can revive and save our soul from spiritual lethargy.

            Next time you feel spiritually drained or inadequate, remember that you have a choice.  You can wrap yourself up in excuses and self-pity, or you can choose to draw your strength from an unchanging God. 



[i] Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible

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Story: Choosing to Train


Judy couldn’t take her eyes off the ballet performance.  The ballerinas’ dancing looked so elegant and graceful.  That must be fun Judy thought to herself.

All that week, Judy twirled around the family room.  “See, Mom, I’m a ballerina,” she would say.

One day, Judy decided she wanted to be a real ballerina.  To her joy, her mother agreed to sign her up for ballet lessons.  She could hardly wait!

Judy pranced into her first ballet class.  She expected to learn how to dance right away.

But Judy’s teacher had other ideas.  “You must learn the steps before you can dance,” she explained as she showed Judy three basic ways to position her feet.  “Being a ballerina takes lots of training.  Every day, I want you to practice these steps.”

            For the first several days, Judy practiced the steps with a joyful heart.  But she quickly grew tired of practicing.  “I don’t feel like doing this anymore,” she whined to her mother one morning. 

            “We must do things even when we don’t feel like it,” Judy’s mother gently reminded her. “You must keep practicing those steps.  Remember, your teacher told you that you were in training.  Training involves applying ourselves, no matter how we feel.”

            “But my feet hurt.  Can’t I just take one day off?”

            Judy’s mother shook her head. 

            “Can I practice later?” Judy begged.

            Her mother sighed as she replied gently, but firmly, “Later never comes, Judy.  You had better practice now.  You will one day be glad that you trained your body this way.”

            At the moment, Judy could not imagine ever being glad that she had practiced three silly steps over and over again.  But she sighed and obeyed.

 

 

Several years later Judy was very glad that her mother had made her practice.  Because of her faithful practicing, she could now dance as gracefully as the ballerinas she had admired years ago. 

Judy came home one evening unusually excited.  Everyone had complemented her on how well she had danced that evening.  Even her teacher could not find a mistake in her moves.  Judy told herself that surely now she could stop training. 

The next morning, instead of exercising and practicing her ballet steps, Judy curled up on the couch and read a book.  At lunch, instead of eating a nutritious meal, Judy ate junk food.  That afternoon, instead of getting ready for ballet class, Judy got ready for a nap.

            Judy continued living this way for several weeks.  One afternoon, however, she decided to attend her ballet class again.  To her surprise, her leotard hardly fit, and her legs did not stretch or move like they had in the past.  What had happened?

“Have you been faithfully training?” Judy’s teacher asked her.

Judy shook her head.  “I didn’t think I needed to train any more.”

Judy’s teacher suppressed a smile as she offered this word of wisdom, “You will never be out of training, Judy, never.  Every day you need to choose to keep training.”

 

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”      

1 Timothy 4:7 NIV

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Homeschool Tip: Problems, Pressures and Principles

Let’s face it.  Problems and conflicts invariably arise in homeschooling.  Uncooperative children and frustrating circumstances press in on us.  The question is: what do we do when faced with apparently insurmountable problems? 

 

Too often, we try to ignore the problems.  We pull blinders over our eyes and imagine that our family is “okay” or will be “okay” while in reality we are falling apart.  Or if we can’t ignore the problems, we tend to blame others for them.  If only our children would cooperate or our husband were more supportive then we could be the moms we should be.  But much as we like to blame others, God holds us accountable for how we are walking in the circumstances and with people He has given us.  He wants us to follow Him and serve Him, regardless of what everyone else does or doesn’t do (John 21:19 -23).

We often try to fix problems by changing our situation.  Instead of praying for God to change us through the situation, we begin praying for a way out of the situation.  Rather than acknowledging that the pressures we face are God’s “servants” to us, we look for ways that we can be relieved from the pressures.  In the end, we usually end up giving up on homeschooling altogether.

 

When you face the temptation to run away from your problems by considering options other than homeschooling, think about the principles that caused you to homeschool in the first place.  God’s principles don’t change.  Hasn’t God still called you, not someone else to train these children for Him?   Why would you consider abandoning your responsibility with your children because of conflicts in your homeschooling endeavors? 

 

Instead of ignoring, struggling, blaming others, or running away, we should be running to God with our problems and crying, “Lord, change me!”  The very problems we seek to avoid are really Heaven sent messengers designed to drive us to our knees and make us more and more dependent on our Heavenly Father.  If we would but resolve to stand in God’s strength, we would find Him sufficient for every situation. 

 

This month, whenever you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances and problems, ask God to change you and resolve to keep seeking Him.  You will be amazed at how He can use every problem to lovingly mold and shape you. 

 

--By Cris and Katherine Loop

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Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, © 2005.  Unless otherwise indicated, scripture taken from the NIV Bible.  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 info@christianperspective.net or sign up on our website, www.christianperspective.net.   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.