Christian Perspective

Encouragement

 
 

December 2008 Newsletter

Happy New Year!

snowflakes

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

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Update: A New Year Idea

One of my favorite things to do New Year's Eve or New Year's Day is to review the previous year, reflecting back on what God has done and the lessons learned over the year. Remembering how the Lord led through the bumps and blessings of the past year can be a tremendous encouragement for the year to come.

As you begin a new year, I hope you'll pause and take some time either individually or as a family to reflect back on 2008. You may find it helpful to write down some highlights or lessons you don't want to forget in a little book or to make a picture collage of the year--something to help you remember God's faithfulness and be able to look back on it when you need encouragement.

May God’s joy fill your hearts today and all year long!

In Him,

Katherine


Thought: The Incredible Gift of God's Word

I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. Psalm 119:15 (KJV)

Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. Psalm 119:23,24 (KJV)

God has given us His Word. We hold it in our hands. We read it. But do we realize what an incredible treasure we have been given? Do we read God's Word like we're completing a duty, or with joy and eagerness, expecting God to speak to us just what we need for the day? Do we really realize that His Word is a priceless treasure meant for us? Do we really understand that we're holding the Word of God in our hands--the words of the All-knowing, All-wise, All-powerful God?

King David understood the value of God's Word. He meditated on it--and made it his delight and counselors. Can we say the same? Is God's Word our delight? Do we soak Scripture up like we would a letter from a dear friend?

As you read the Bible this month, ask God to help you value and delight in His Word. Find a way to meditate on Scripture throughout the day, pondering a verse and asking God to use His Word to transform your thinking. Above all, ask God to show you Himself through His Word--to help you realize His character in a deeper way. Don't miss out on exploring the incredible gift God has given you in His Word!

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB)


Story: Fully Equipped?

Day after day, John had been diligently working on building a house. Although he felt discouraged, he kept working. . .and working. His father had given him this assignment, and he wanted to do his best.

Yet, strange as it may sound, John worked without good tools. While John had many tools he could have used, he seemed intent on using a hammer he'd crafted out of a stone. His hands were raw from trying to split and nail wood without proper equipment.

Though it may sound stranger still, John apparently worked without consulting his father's blueprint. The house looked strangely lopsided, testifying to John's tendency to work wherever it seemed best that day, instead of according to a plan.

"Say, John, what are you doing?" The question came from Michael, one of John's neighbors.

"Just building," John replied, hardly looking up from his work.

"I can see that," Michael consented. "But with what are you building, John? Didn't your father give you tools? Why aren't you using them?"

John paused for a moment to process this question. It was true: His father had given him tools to help him build. And, for that matter, his father had given him a blueprint. But John hadn't paid much attention to the things he had been given by his father. Oh, to be sure, he looked at them everyday. He admired their beauty. He even talked about them and their uses at his local building society. But when it came to the daily chores of building, he'd just set about it the same way everyone in his town did: coping the best he could with tools of his own making, and choosing where to build according to what made the most sense.

After waiting for a minute for a reply, Michael continued, "John, don't you realize how valuable a gift your father has given you? He gave you all the equipment you need. Here you are, struggling and scraping on your own, when your father has given you a gift beyond description you can use right here in the middle of this rubble. The blueprint you left home--it contains his very words and thoughts. Why would you ever set out to work without it?"

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105 (KJV)

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29 (KJV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)


Homeschool Tip: Hiding God's Word in Our Hearts

- By Cris Loop

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11 (KJV)

One of the most fruitful things we can do with our children is to show them how we hide God's Word in our hearts. I'm not talking about memorizing Scripture to get a sticker or pin, to win a contest, or to be full of impressive head knowledge--I'm talking about memorizing God's Word so we are changed! Hiding God's Word in our hearts involves walking God's Word--letting it pierce our hearts so we know how to love and please God.

I know for the first several years of my children's lives, I didn't really understand God's great love for me and for all mankind enough to pass it onto my children. I read the Scriptures diligently to my children, but it didn’t really change my life or theirs on the inside--it just gave us more external rules to follow. I was stuck in a what-do-I-need-to-do-to-please-God mentality, and blinded to the transforming power of God's Word in our lives. I honored the Word of God; I read, taught, and memorized the Word of God; but I didn't really hide the word of God in my heart so I would not sin against God. I didn't read as though God was speaking to me.

I pray this coming month--the beginning of a new year--you will teach your children not only the importance of reading God's Word, but also the importance of really hiding Scripture in their hearts and letting it transform their lives from the inside. When you read the Bible, don't look at it as more external rules to follow, but rather as the words of God Himself to guide you--and show you Himself! Teach your children to hide God's Word in their hearts by first letting God's Word dwell richly within you--letting it transform your heart, your thinking, and your life.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16 (KJV)


Hymn/Poem: Jesus, Engrave It

- 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. 266

Jesus, engrave it on my heart,
That thou the one thing needful art;
I could from all things parted be,
But never, never, Lord, from thee.

Needful art thou to make me live;
Needful art thou all grace to give;
Needful to guide me, lest I stray;
Needful to help me every day.

Needful is thy most precious blood;
Needful is thy correcting rod;
Needful is thine indulgent care,
Needful thine all-prevailing prayer.

Needful art thou to be my stay
Through all life's dark and thorny way;
Nor less in death thou'lt needful be,
When I yield up my soul to thee.


Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, © 2008. Where marked Cris Loop, articles written by Christina Loop, © 2008. Feel free to pass these e-mails or articles by Katherine or Cris Loop within these e-mails along to others (please include a link to our web site when you do). Please contact us for information about reprinting articles written by people other than Katherine or Cris Loop so we can put you in contact with the appropriate person to ask for permission.

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

Where marked NIV, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

The "NIV" and "New International Version" trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Where marked NASB, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.