Christian Perspective

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

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Content:



Update
Thought
Story
Homeschool Tip
Hymn/Poem 


 

Update: Prayer Request

I would like to ask for your specific prayers in the upcoming weeks. God has opened the door for me to assist at a homeschool convention in Thailand from the 18th through the 30th of January. I will be traveling with Sandra Lovelace of Lifework Forum. Please hold us both in your prayers, asking God for safe travel, good health, and above all, God’s presence, heart, and perspective. Pray that God will be able to speak to us and through us, and that we would keep our eyes fixed on Him constantly.

As we leave 2005 behind us and start 2006, may we rejoice in knowing that God never changes. The One who hung the galaxies in place is the same Immanuel with us each moment.

May you have a most blessed new year in Him!

Katherine

Thought: Rejoice in the Lord

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

These past few weeks I have been busy preparing for a trip and struggling with the temptation to worry about many of the details. Obstacle after obstacle has impeded my preparation plans. For example, just as I entered the final stages, I came down with a cold, and my mother fell and sprained her ankle. Things have definitely not been going the way I’d planned.

I couldn’t help smiling when these verses from Philippians appeared in my devotional readings again this morning. It seems like no matter what I read or am doing, God keeps finding a way to bring the above verses to mind. I’m realizing that each moment, I have a choice. I can curl up with my anxious thoughts and indulge in self-pity (which I have done all too often), or I can surrender, lay everything in God’s hands, and rest in the peace of knowing that nothing can separate me from His love.

When I first read these verses a few weeks ago, I found myself believing that I didn’t need to be anxious because God would take care of making everything fall in its place. I’m realizing now that when God tells us not to be anxious about anything, that doesn’t mean things will turn out the way we want. Our fears may materialize. We might not get everything we want done. Our best laid plans might backfire.

However, we still don’t need to be anxious. We can choose to stop looking at our situations and ourselves and to fix our eyes on the Lord and eternity instead, remembering that we are His forever. We can turn the past, present, and future over to God and rejoice in the knowledge that He will do what is best (even if that isn’t what we think is best at the time).

I’ve also been realizing that rejoicing in the Lord involves more than just plastering a smile on our faces and saying everything is okay. Too often, I’ve found myself smiling on the outside, while becoming inwardly absorbed in busyness in an effort to ignore the true concerns of my heart. God doesn’t want us to ignore our concerns and anxieties. He wants us to truly let them go—to place them in His hands. It’s okay to acknowledge that they are there. We don’t have to jump up and down and pretend we love it when hardship arrives. Remember, Jesus sweat drops of blood in the garden when He thought of the agony before Him. But His heart remained surrendered, saying, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”

Rejoicing in the Lord is a constant choice not based on our circumstances. We constantly face the temptation to put our eyes on ourselves and our situations. Self-pity continually lurks like a deadly serpent, anxious to wrap us up in ourselves and rob us of the peace we can have when we remember that our Heavenly Father is still in charge.

Today, this moment, each one of us gets to choose whether we will let life overwhelm us, or whether we will put our eyes on our Heavenly Father and walk forward trusting Him. I would encourage you this month to hand each area of your life over to God’s control and truly rejoice in Him.



Story: Intent on One Purpose


Davy hurried toward the house, eager to get the screwdriver his father had sent him to find. He couldn’t wait to return and spend some more time with his father. He’d been begging his father to let him help with the car for weeks, and now finally his father had agreed. How much fun they’d been having together this morning! He was eager to be back by his father’s side. Surely it wouldn’t take more than a minute to grab a screwdriver.

Upon opening the kitchen door, a fragrant aroma greeted him. His mom had made cookies! The temptation was too much for him. He simply had to pause long enough to grab a cookie. Then, of course, he needed a glass of milk to wash the cookie down. By the time he had finished his snack, he’d done what he’d never thought possible a few moments ago—forgotten all about his father and the car.

“Davy, how is the work on the car progressing?” Mrs. Meller asked her son as he cleared his place.

The question jived Davy’s memory. His father! Hurriedly answering his mother’s question, he raced toward the basement in search of the screwdriver.

On his way, he bumped into his older brother. “Say, Davy, look at this,” Andrew called, holding up a new Lego invention he had put together. Of course, Davy simply had to pause and investigate his brother’s workmanship. It was several minutes before Davy, chagrinned at his forgetfulness, again remembered that his father was waiting.

He nearly tripped over a toy he’d been looking for everywhere. He paused long enough to examine it and set it somewhere safe. Then, of course, he had to tell his brother that he’d found it…

Finally, Davy opened the tool chest. He fumbled around for the screwdriver. Where was it? No, that was the wrench, and that was a tool he’d never seen before. Davy looked everywhere for the screwdriver, but in vain. Disheartened and embarrassed, he headed outside to tell his father that he had failed.

“Ah, Davy, there you are. I’ve been missing you. I just finished fixing the car.”

“You’ve finished?” Davy was both perplexed and heartbroken. How had his father finished without the screwdriver? And had he really missed out on this special time with his father that he’d looked forward to for weeks?

Noticing his son’s perplexed look, Mr. Meller explained, “When you didn’t return, I went in and found the screwdriver myself. Would you like to talk about what happened in there?” Mr. Meller spoke the last words very gently.

Davy’s eyes watered with tears as he explained his poor conduct. He ended his explanation with a choked--“I’m sorry, Daddy.”

His father had listened quietly. Now, he lifted his son’s tear-stained cheek. “I forgive you, Davy. I think you’ve learned a valuable lesson today.”

“You do?”

Mr. Meller nodded. “Yes. You’ve learned the importance of remaining intent on your purpose. If you had kept me in your mind the whole time and remembered that I was waiting for you, longing to spend time with you, cookies and toys wouldn’t have seemed so important, would they?”

Davy shook his head. Oh, why had he let himself be so easily sidetracked from his father?

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“Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” Philippians 2:2 NASB

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Philippians 3:8 NASB

Homeschool Tip: Today

--By Cris Loop

Recently I’ve been hit by the meaning and magnitude of TODAY. Right or wrong, good or bad, yesterday’s choices/decisions are gone; tomorrow’s choices/decisions are not yet known, but TODAY—TODAY is another story. TODAY is here and now. TODAY is new and full of life and opportunity.

Much like the Israelites in Jesus' time were relying on being children of Abraham to make them rightly related to God, it is easy to rely on past decisions to follow the Lord (especially the costly ones) we've made instead of relying on Him TODAY. I know I've found myself either relying on my “good” decisions or crying over my “bad” decisions to the point of despair. Living in or relying on the past keeps us from hearing what the Lord has to say TODAY. Even relying on our past or present homeschooling efforts can keep us from hearing the LORD'S direction for TODAY.

As I read Psalm 95 --“Today when you hear His voice, do not harden your heart” --I was struck by the fact that every day this year God will be speaking to you and to me because He loves and longs for us, and each day we will be responding. The real question is: how will we respond? Join me in praying for a soft heart—a listening heart—a heart willing to respond toward Him. May God’s presence lead you TODAY through the thousands of decisions you will make this year, and may you lean on Him to teach you and your children in your homeschooling adventure TODAY.

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“. . choose for yourselves TODAY whom you will serve. . ."  Joshua 24:15


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