Christian Perspective

Encouragement

May 2005

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This month's:

Thought: Remember
Story: An Open Prison Door
Homeschool Tip: Opportunities
Hymn/Poem: Thank You! 


 

Thought: Remember

Have you ever noticed how quickly we tend to forget things? I have been having an extra difficult time with forgetfulness lately. I walk downstairs to get something, only to forget what I needed by the time I reach the bottom of the stairs. I start to say something, only to forget what I was going to say. I am realizing more and more what a truly forgetful creature I am.

Our forgetfulness is one reason why we have holidays like Memorial Day to remember those who have fought and died for our nations freedom. Its important that we not forget the sacrifice of those who died least we take our liberty for granted and forget its responsibilities.

But there is something even more important than our physical liberty that we easily forget. We tend to forget the sacrifice paid for our spiritual liberty.

Now I know most of us never forget intellectually that Jesus died for us. But we forget this important truth all the time in the way we live. Like the Israelites, we no sooner get led through the Red Sea before we forget what God has done for us and begin to worry about one thing or another.

Today, I would encourage you to sit back for a moment and think about the simple gospel truths. Remember how utterly lost and sinful you were when you first came to foot of the cross. Remember how Jesus came and died in your place so He might clothe you with His righteousness. Remember how He finished the work for your salvation and now sits, gloriously risen and conquering, on His throne.

Then let the memory of those truths sink down into your heart and life. Nothing has changed since that day when you first came to Christ and found in Him salvation. You are still completely helpless on your own. You are sanctified the same way you are savedby trusting in Him and clinging to His righteousness. Let the burden of trying to conquer your sin fall off your shoulders again. Jesus has already conquered it! Simply run to Him, hand Him your sinful heart, and bask in the glorious robe of His righteousness. He has died to set you free! You know longer have to be a prisoner of sin and selfthe prison doors have been thrown open. The price for your freedom has been paid. The works been finished. What a glorious truth to remember!

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. 2 Timothy 2:8a

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body. 2 Peter 1:12, 13



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Story: An Open Prison Door


The town marshal, Isaac, and his dinner guest sat quietly around the marshals table. They had just finished eating, and now passed the time in pleasant conversation.

Say, Isaac, anything new at the jail? the guest, Richard, inquired casually.

Indeed, there is, Isaac replied significantly. I have never seen anything like it in my life.

His guest became immediately intrigued. What! Something a life-long marshal has not seen? I didnt know that existed. What is it?

Im afraid I cant figure that out myself, and it is much too difficult to explain. But Ill tell you what, how would you like to come with me and see for yourself?

Richard, whose curiosity had now risen to an almost unbearable level, readily assented. A few moments later the two headed down the street to the town jail. Isaac opened the door and ushered his friend inside.

Richard glanced around, not sure quite what he should expect to see. His gaze fell immediately on the prison cell, where a prisoner sat weeping on the floor. Even at a first glance, Richard noticed the prisoners badly bruised body. What happened? he whispered.

Watch, youll see, the marshal urged.

Suddenly the prisoner leaped to his feet, exclaiming, I will conquer this! I will get out of here! He threw his body against the iron bars and shook them with all his might. When that failed, he tried to climb the walls, hoping somehow to make it to the window up above. Failing in that as well, he took a little stick and tried to saw through the bars. He tried until his hands bled from the effort, but to no avail.

Richard turned to his friend for an explanation. Marshal Isaac shook his head in bewilderment as he told the sad tale. This man was put in prison for attempted murder and for incalculable debts he could never pay. But the man whom he attempted to murder withdrew all charges against him and paid all the debts the man owed. More than that, he posted the necessary bail to free this man from prison.

Why havent you told the prisoner? He seems to want freedom badly enough. Richard asked in bewilderment.

I have told him, Richard. Every time I see him I tell him. I have left the prison door unlocked. See, it is even partly ajar. The man only needs to walk through the door into freedom.

Why then does he wear himself ragged in trying to break down the bars?

The marshal shook his head. I dont know. Thats what I dont understand. Somehow, I dont think he believes me when I tell him he can simply walk through to freedom. He thinks somehow he has to earn it and struggle to free himself from the prison cell. Yet only his own pride and independence keep him imprisoned.

Richard looked once more at the foolish prisoner. The prisoner was still feverously attempting to break through those iron bars. His efforts had bruised and cut him so badly. And all the time he could just walk through the open door, Richard muttered to himself. Oh, poor man! Poor, foolish man!

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:18

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Homeschool Tip: Opportunities

--By Cris Loop

Every day God brings teaching opportunities to us. Yet we often entirely fail to recognize them. Tied to our own thoughts of what we should be doing for the day and filled with busy schedules, we often miss out on Gods provisions.

For example, you might be so preoccupied with finishing school on time that you miss out on an opportunity to serve someone right now. Dont feel like you have to finish school by the end of Juneremember, school is a 24 hour, 365 day a year activity. The things your children learn outside the textbooks are what really count.

Or perhaps your schedule is so crowded with activities that you are missing the priceless opportunities God wants to give you in your own home. It is easy to think our children need to participate in every sort of activity and opportunity available. Yet constantly running everywhere, we might really be robbing them of the opportunity to be learning and growing at home.

Or perhaps you are chafing under a severe trial, unaware that God has sent that very trial as a teaching opportunity for you. I know there have been many times in our family where we have faced difficult situationslike moves or sicknessthat, while they have prevented us from the school I had planned, have taught me and my children more than any textbooks ever could have. The interruptions and difficulties of life are actually our very best classroom.

I want to encourage you to take a look at your schedule. Ask yourself, Am I open and available for the unexpected opportunities God provides? Am I viewing the various things in my life as opportunities? Hand your schedule over to God. Give over to Him whether you get done all the things on your list or whether your children finish all the textbook work you have assigned. Be open to His changes. Dont miss His precious opportunities.

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Hymn/Poem: Thank You!

Lord, thank You for the sun shine,
And thank You for rain.
Thank You that through all ages,
You are ever the same.

Lord, thank You for this new day,
And for the strength You provide.
Help me to be weak yet strong
And in Your great love reside.

Lord, thank You for others,
For the many who teach,
By their words and their lives
Into Thy love to daily reach.

Lord, thank You for forgiveness,
For patience never ending,
For giving me what is best,
For Your love or me extending.

Lord, thank You for everything
Both seen and unseen.
Help me to always remember Your love,
And teach me each day on You to lean.

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Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, 2005.  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.netor 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.