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"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."Psalm 105:4

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Thought: The Main Thing

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

Someone at our church recently shared how his naval officer once offered this piece of advice. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that these wise words apply to us as Christians as much as to sailors heading into battle.

We are called to keep our eyes fastened on Christ. The Bible urges us to keep the main thing--knowing and depending on Him--the primary focus of our lives. Yet our daily routines continually threaten to lull us into complacency. Causes and projects constantly compete for our attention. Our own desire to be better subtly lures us into self-efforts and works. In thousands of different ways, we unknowingly lose sight of simple dependency on Christ.

The other day, I was all worked up over several decisions I needed to make. I desperately wanted to make the right decisions. The Lord had to show me that I'd made making the "right" decisions my main concern. By putting my eyes on my decisions, I'd lost sight of the main thing--depending on Christ and trusting Him to guide my steps.

This month, I would encourage you to keep knowing Christ the "main thing" in your life. Ask God to help you see the areas where you've allowed other goals to creep into your heart. As He shows you your error, though, don't grow overwhelmed or discouraged. Your salvation and sanctification do not depend on you! You have a faithful Shepherd who will continue to bring you back on course. Simply choose today to listen to His voice once more.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."      Isaiah 30:21

Dear Lord, thank that you are the keeper of my wandering heart! Help me this month to be responsive to your voice. Show me how to keep you the main thing in my life. Amen.

Story: Keeping on Course

Jesse gripped the helm firmly. He could hardly believe that his father had really let him take their little fishing boat out all by himself!

Jesse remembered his father's instructions. "Keep your eyes fixed on this lighthouse," he had said. "If you steer towards its light, you will stay on course."

Though young, Jesse knew the importance of his father's instructions. You see, Jesse's father was the lighthouse keeper. Ever since he could remember, Jesse had watched his father safely guide boats home. He knew he needed to keep his eyes on the light.

That entire first trip, Jesse kept his eyes fastened on the lighthouse's distant light. In fact, he was so intent on the lighthouse that he hardly heard or saw anything else. He didn't want to lose sight of that light even for a moment. He knew that his father was there in that lighthouse, faithfully guiding him.

Much to Jesse's delight, his father began allowing him to take the boat out by himself more and more often. Sitting behind the helm began feeling like second nature. The lake, which had at one time looked like a vast sea of blue, now seemed like an old friend.

Quite unconsciously, Jesse began to relax. He no longer worried quite so much about keeping the lighthouse in view. He began watching the sea gulls circle overhead and listening to the gentle lapping of the water against the side of his boat.

One day Jesse actually fell asleep behind the helm. Now Jesse had not intended to fall asleep. But the gentle rocking of the ship proved too much for him.

Jesse awoke with a start. The clear blue sky under which he'd fallen asleep was shrouded by a thick, suffocating fog. Jesse could hardly see in front of the boat. Where was he? Oh, how he wished he had kept his eyes on the lighthouse! How could he ever find his way back home now?

Now Jesse had a two way radio connection with his father. He could have simply picked it up and asked his father what to do. But Jesse didn't want to admit that he couldn't handle this himself. He struggled fruitlessly as long as he could before he finally picked up the radio and chocked out the word, "Father?"

Almost instantly he heard his father's voice. "Jesse! I've been trying to get through to you for hours. I've missed you. What happened?" Now Jesse's father already had a pretty good guess what had happened, but he wanted to give his son the opportunity to tell him.

Jesse hung his head and blushed. He hadn't even thought about the fact that his father might have been trying to get in touch with him! "I'm lost and& and I just want to give up." Jesse felt hot tears rolling down his cheeks despite his greatest efforts to control them. "I'm so sorry," he added in a low voice. "I didn't keep my eyes on the lighthouse."

Jesse never thought his father's voice had sounded so patient and loving as it did when he said the simple words, "I forgive you." Jesse knew he didn't deserve that forgiveness.

"Now," his father added, "dry those tears and do what you should have been doing all along. Start looking at the lighthouse again. You've lost a lot of time and energy, and have probably done some damage to your boat, but it's never too late to start looking to the light again."

"But I can't see the lighthouse, Father. This fog has hidden everything."

"Just look for the light with all your might, Jesse. I've been keeping this lighthouse for many years, and I've never once seen a fog too thick that the light couldn't shine through. Only sometimes you really have to look hard."

Encouraged by these words, Jesse began peering into the fog. At first, he saw nothing. Then he saw it--a very faint glimmer of light! He had only seen it for a split second, but he had seen it. Jesse immediately turned his boat around to follow that faint glimmer. Was it just his imagination, or had the faint glimmer grown a little brighter?

Jesse kept steering toward the light with all his might. To his great delight, the light kept growing stronger and brighter. Finally, Jesse could once again see the entire lighthouse!

"I can see it!" he shouted into the radio. "Oh, Father, I can see your light again!"

Jesse could almost see the smiling face of his father as he heard his reply through the radio, "I knew you would! Always remember, Jessie, to keep your eyes on the light. Though you wander, you are never outside of my care. My light can reach into the thickest fogs."

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"The LORD is my light and my salvation." Psalm 27:1


"If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."     Psalm 139:11, 12

Homeschool Tip: Ears to Hear

--By Cris Loop

I have been thinking a lot lately about the importance of listening to God each day. If our spiritual ears are clogged, we'll miss out on God's instructions and end up teaching our children from our own experience and wisdom (a scary thought!). Our past experiences can easily clog our spiritual ears if we let them. Whenever we finally figure something out, we tend to make a formula or a rule and follow that rather than really asking and listening to God for His input.

I know when I had my second child I thought, "This will be easy. I know what to do now. I have 'figured out' pregnancy, labor, and motherhood." As many of you know, I had quite the surprise coming! My second child was completely different than my first. What worked for my first child did not work on this new individual. I eventually realized that God wanted me to give up on creating a "rule" and to depend on Him for fresh ideas.

Oh, but I like rules! I continually fight the temptation to take God's principles, which never change, and turn them into a pat formula that works in every situation. But God is not about formulas. God wants us to keep asking, listening , growing, and changing in the present. Dear parents, are you really listening to God and asking for His wisdom? He is constantly trying to speak to you.

Many times God speaks in the most unlikely places. A few months ago a conversation I had challenged my thinking on several different issues that I didn't even realize were a problem. The conversation wasn't even on spiritual matters (or so I thought), yet God used the words spoken to show me some ways my current course of action needed an adjustment. It hit me like a two by four that God had been trying to tell me these things for months--why hadn't I heard His voice?

I hadn't heard because I had allowed my experiences and "formulas" to clog my hearing. Thinking that I had the right course of action "figured out," I had stopped asking for God's Wisdom. I'm thankful that, in His mercy, God didn't give up on me. He has a way of using the strangest situations to get through to us, doesn't He?

Moms (& dads), don't settle for your old thoughts and ways no matter how godly they seemed in the past or even seem to be in the present. Let God transform your thinking however He sees fit. Listen carefully to Him each day. Remember that God is continually trying to change each one of us. Seeing constant change happening in the physical world around us should remind us of this. How foolish we are to act like we have everything "figured out"!

This month, I would encourage you to stop trying to "figure it out" in your own understanding. Instead, ask God to really give you His perspective and wisdom, sit back, and listen. Your children are learning how to hear as they watch you--be sure to model healthy hearing.

"Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9


Hymn/Poem:Lead Me, Saviour

"For the sake of your name lead and guide me." Psalm 31:3

--By F. M. D.

Saviour, lead me, lest I stray,
Gently lead me all the way;
I am safe when by thy side,
I would in thy love abide.

(Chorus) Lead me, lead me,
Saviour, lead me, lest I stray;
Gently down the stream of time,
Lead me, Saviour, all the way.

Thou the refuge of my soul
When life's stormy billows roll,
I am safe when thou art nigh,
All my hopes on thee rely. (Chorus)

Saviour, lead me, then at last,
When the storm of life is past,
To the land of endless day,
Where all tears are wiped away. (Chorus)

Hymn taken from Living Hymns, For use in the Sabbath school, Christian Endeavor Meetings, The Church and Home. Compiled by John Wanamaker, assisted by John R. Sweney, Mus. Doc. Philadelphia: John J. Hood, 1024 Arch St. Copyright, 1890, by John J. Hood. Pg. 15.

Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, 2006.  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.