June 2007

"Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore." Psalm 105:4

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Update

Thought: No Excuses Allowed

I just can't change, Lord. I moaned as I settled into my chair to have my evening Bible study. I had a whole litany of reasons why I just wanted to curl up in self-pity and continue living short of what God had for me. But then it hit me: all my reasons, valid as they might sound, were but excuses. I serve a God who wanted to take every difficulty and obstacle and prove His power through it. There is no excuse not to let Him live His victorious life in me.

This month, I would encourage you to remember that every day, God offers us His life, strength, and power. No matter what we may have done, what our circumstances, or how we feel, we have no excuse not to live trusting Him and walking in His truth. He is able to transform every difficulty and obstacle into a blessing--if we will let Him.

When you find yourself tempted to give up or hide behind an excuse this month, remind yourself of the truth. God has all you need. Run to Him and rejoice in knowing that He has allowed these exact circumstances into your life in order to prove His abundant sufficiency. Instead of making excuses, allow the things with which you are struggling to draw you closer to your Heavenly Shepherd.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 KJV

A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, "Come; for all things are now ready."

And they all with one consent began to make excuse...Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, "Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind...Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." Luke 14:16, 17,18, 21, 23, 24 KJV

Story: Ignoring the Bounty

One hot summer afternoon, Peter and his friend Josiah were reclining under the shade of a tree. On the slope in front of them, Peter's flock of sheep grazed contentedly--or I should say that most of the flock grazed contentedly. One little lamb was not grazing it all. Instead, it had positioned itself at the very edge of the slope and lay looking out at other pastures, bleating softly as if to say, "I wish I could be over there instead of here."

"Whatever is wrong with that lamb over there? It looks positively miserable!" Josiah asked his friend. He enjoyed learning all he could about shepherding on his visits.

Peter shook his head sadly and replied with a grieved yet infinitely compassionate voice, "That little lamb refuses to rejoice in what I give it."

"That doesn't make a lot of sense. Haven't you always given it what is best?" Josiah asked.

Peter nodded. "I always give the lamb exactly what it needs. I brought it here to this pasture because this pasture has the nutritious grass the lamb needs to grow strong. But it is convinced that it would be happier feeding in other pastures. It saddens me, Josiah. That little lamb is missing out on the feast I have laid out for it."

Josiah looked over at the poor lamb who was making himself miserable by refusing to simply rejoice in what his shepherd had provided. After pondering the situation for a moment, he thought of another question. "Do you ever feel like giving up on that lamb? I think I would lose patience pretty quickly with a lamb like that."

Peter stared at his friend in surprise. "Give up? How could I! I will go on caring for it and loving it no matter how it treats me. That's my lamb, and nothing can change that."

No one seeing the deep love in Peter's eyes at that moment could ever doubt his words. Josiah knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Peter would go on loving that poor little lamb. The only question was, would the lamb ever learn to rejoice in that love, or would it go on ignoring the bounty laid out before it?

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." Psalm 23:1,2,5a KJV

Homeschool Tip: Dreaming of Perfection

--By Cris Loop

When my children were younger and I was first homeschooling, I thought we were doing everything right. You couldn't convince me that God was not smiling down upon all the work that "I" was doing! I had given up everything to homeschool. I had this perception that God would say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21 KJV)! " This perception kept me striving more and more in my homeschool endeavors. Without even realizing it, I had somehow developed a dream that we would one day be the perfect little family like the families on the magazine covers. How I could have ever thought we would be perfect is beyond me, and yet that dream drove me forward.

God was so gracious to me. Not only did He show me that all I was doing was wasted effort because it was not done in Him, but he also showed me that my dream to be a perfect family (the way I was looking at it) was not even in accordance to His will! The only way we would be a perfect family was through His Son. I realized that we were actually grieving God's heart when we rejected this truth and tried to become perfect on our own. We could be perfect NOW! The day I believed and received the gift of life from God, I became righteous in His eyes. Jesus is perfect, and He has given me His robe of righteousness. God's reality is marvelous--even when our thoughts and feelings are faulty. What a relief! What a difference it makes to let Jesus be your Redeemer, Righteousness, and Ruler in this practical way!

Recently God showed me again how easy it is to let my thoughts and ideas get carried away and misplaced. It's so easy to begin looking for perfection (in all the wrong places) and building dreams of how wonderful we will be. Although I felt like a complete idiot when I realized that I had once again fallen into the "perfect" trap, God is gracious. He is reminding me that “love will cover a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8 NKJV)” and is teaching me to hand over my thoughts to Him instead of fostering them.   

This month don't let your dreams, desires, good plans, excuses, or ANYTHING else get in the way of your relationship with the Lord--drink His truth, wear His robe, and watch the difference it makes! Remember that you don't have to strive to be the perfect family--if you are Christ's, then you are already perfect. Rather than striving to be perfect, spend your time rejoicing in God's perfection and seeking to know and trust Him more. Know that He is in the process of transforming you--not into a perfect being that everyone can admire--but into a humble vessel through which He can shine. Just keep looking to Him and letting Him be your all.

Hymn/Poem: Come Hither, All Ye Weary Souls

--Author Unknown. Found in Living Hymns for Use in the Sabbath School, Christian Endeavor Meetings, the Church and Home. Compiled by John Wanamaker. Published in Philadelphia by John J. Hood, 1890.

Come hither, all ye weary souls,
Ye heavy-laden sinners, come;
I'll give you rest from all your toils,
And raise you to my heavenly home.

They shall find rest that learn of me;
I'm of a meek and lowly mind;
But passion rages like the sea,
And pride is restless as the wind.

Blest is the man whose shoulders take
My yoke, and bear it with delight;
My yoke is easy to his neck,
My grace shall make the burden light.

Jesus, we come at thy command,
With faith, and hope, and humble zeal,
Resign our spirits to thy hand,
To mould and guide us at thy will.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, 2007.  Feel free to pass these e-mails or articles that we have written within these emails along to others (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.

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Unless otherwise indicated and where marked KJV, scripture taken from the King James Version.

Where marked NKJV, "Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."