Christian Perspective

Encouragement

November 2006

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Reminder: Christmas devotional starts December 1st!

Looking for an easy and fun way to take advantage of the holidays with your children or for a meaningful gift for loved ones? Jesus-the Promised One is a 24-day devotional for the month of December we produced specifically to encourage homeschooling families. Devotional includes a book for children to make while they listen as well as stickers and a gold pen. Visit www.christianperspective.net or email us for details.

  The devotional was recently reviewed by Tammy Cardwell from in Eclectic Homeschooling. Take a look at: http://eclectichomeschool.org/reviews/individual_review2.asp?revid=2330

 I recently posted an article about holiday traditions that shares some of the different ways we have celebrated Christmas. I pray it will be a blessing to you. Read article.

Update: Math Curriculum

“Why don’t you write a biblical math curriculum?”

The question has come at me numerous times after speaking to parents on the need to teach math biblically. I squirmed out of it as long as I could, but eventually realized that, much as I felt inadequate to the task, it was something God wanted me to do. So here I am, researching and writing!

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for me in this undertaking. Please pray that I will be able to be diligent and above all remain focused on the Lord throughout the whole process. It’s my goal to have the curriculum available by June, which doesn’t leave much time to finish the writing, editing, formatting, and printing processes! I’m currently a little over half way through the first draft. Thank you for your prayers.--Katherine

Thought: Out of Shape in a Heartbeat

All summer long I made a point of going on a short walk several times a week. By fall, I had finally reached the point where I no longer felt winded at the end of my little trek.

Then a week came when I didn't walk at all. The weather was cold and I was busy and…well, for one reason or another, I didn’t make the effort to walk.

When I started walking again after a week off, I was amazed by how winded I felt. Could I really have grown out of shape that quickly?

Yes, the truth is that we can grow out of shape in a heartbeat, both physically and spiritually. Paul once wrote the Galatians,

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. Galatians 1:6

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Galatians 3:3

The Galatians church, after embracing God’s salvation and clinging to His righteousness, had quickly fallen into trying to live the Christian life in their own efforts. They had forgotten that love, joy, and peace are the fruit of the Spirit—they aren’t things we have to somehow produce or manufacture. They had gotten out of shape, forgetting that man’s job in sanctification is that same as in salvation--to continue depending on the Lord and responding to Him.

Like the Galatians, we all can easily get out of shape spiritually. In a heartbeat, we can begin trusting our own efforts or, on the other hand, begin to complacently go about our days our own way. Our muscles of faith and dependence on God grow flabby so quickly!

So what should we do when we realize we have grown out of shape? We should start exercising again! We should repent and ask God to help us depend on and cling to Him once again.

Dear Lord, you know how quickly I get out of shape—how easily I fail to really depend on you and your strength throughout my days. Please forgive me. Help me to take the first steps today to run the race before me in dependence and trust. Amen.



Story: Losing Focus


Jeremy’s heart pounded as he heard his name called. It was his very first piano recital, and he was nervous. He remembered his teacher’s words. Just think about your song and forget everything else, she had told him.

As Jeremy sat down at the grand piano, he tried hard to forget that one hundred pairs of eyes were watching him. He would just think about his song and play one note at a time.

After making it through the first several stanzas without a hitch, Jeremy began to calm down. This isn’t so bad, he thought to himself. He began to relax a little and let his mind wander…

Jeremy’s fingers hesitated in mid-air. What note came next? He couldn’t remember where he was in the song!

Somehow, Jeremy stumbled through the rest of his song. He knew he had messed up badly. What had gone wrong?

At his next lesson, Jeremy talked with his teacher about what had happened.

“I just completely forgot where I was!” he explained.

His teacher smiled. “That’s a very easy thing to do. When you play, you have to pay attention to each note and stay focused on where you are and what is coming next. But it’s very easy to get distracted. Whenever we begin to let our minds wander, we end up losing our focus and making mistakes.”

Jeremy lowered his head. “That’s exactly what I did,” he whispered.

Jeremy’s teacher smiled. “It’s okay, Jeremy. Just remember next time to keep focused and fix your thoughts on the right thing.”

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Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. Hebrews 3:1

Homeschool Tip: Working with All Your Strength

--By Cris Loop

I have been realizing just how easy it is to strive in our own strength to accomplish the tasks God has given us. This month, I had been given a job to do that was above my ability. Rather than completely trusting God to get me though the task by waiting on Him and His timing, I got caught up in the job and getting it done well to the point that I forgot to even question the things I was doing.

At first things seemed to be going well. I got some direction and was on my way. I quickly gained a little confidence that "I" could do this. Within a few weeks however, one thing lead to another and my frustration mounted. I knew I could not do this alone; I needed help. I sought help from others, but I needed more than what they could provide. I needed help from God. Although I knew this intellectually, in reality I had fallen into striving in my own effort and strength. I soon became worn-out and frustrated.

When I was finally at the end of myself, I discovered that God had a way of escape figured out for me all along. His way of escape wasn’t just a way out of the task, but rather a way out of the worldly mindset I had slipped into. All along, He had just been waiting for me to trust Him.

What about you? God has given you one of the most important jobs in the whole world--the care and training of His child(ren). It is a job that is way above your ability, and I know that you want to do it well. Are you seeking God's help to get you through your homeschooling or are you striving in your own effort?

Daily you face the same temptation I faced to complete your job in your own strength. But you can’t do it in on your own, nor can others give you the strength you need. Only God can give you the ability to perform your task, and He’s simply waiting for you to let Him.

Sometimes it is very hard to see the difference between trust in God and self effort. They often look the same outwardly--the difference lies in the heart. Are our hearts depending on God or simply consumed with getting the tasks done? Are we keeping our hearts sensitive by reading God's Word and praying?

We will always face the temptation to walk in our own strength, especially when we have a lot we need to get done. But the Bible assures us that,

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Remember this month that God has a way of escape for you. His way of escape isn’t always a way out of the situation, but a way to help you out of the worldly mindsets and self-reliance we so quickly fall into. Of course, sometimes He does want us to change our circumstances too. If we’ve overcommitted ourselves or are spending our energies in the wrong directions, we may need to change. But the point is, we will only know what to change as we first let God change us and choose to depend on Him once again.

Don't waste as much time as I did lost in your own self-effort. Stop and seek God's help, evaluate what is important, and take the way of escape God provides. Choose to cease from self-effort/reliance in your homeschooling and let God provide for you. His faithfulness is truly marvelous!


Hymn/Poem: Just As I Am

--By Charlotte Elliott

I thought this hymn and its story was such a beautiful reminder to us to come just as we are to God—with whatever difficulties and struggles we have—and surrender ourselves to His control. The author of the hymn was an invalid who, instead of wallowing in self-pity, chose to serve God just as she was. She once wrote, "His [God's] grace surrounds me and His voice continually bids me to be happy and holy in His service—just where I am![1]

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come![2]



[1] Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions, Grand Rapids MI: Kregel Publications, 1990.

[2] Words taken off http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/j/u/justasam.htm According to the website, they “first ap­peared in The Christ­ian Re­mem­branc­er, whose ed­it­or El­li­ott be­came in 1836. The last verse is from El­li­ott’s Hours of Sor­row Cheered and Com­fort­ed, 1836.”

 

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.