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Christian Perspective

Encouragement

 
 

January 2008

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

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Thought: Don’t Just Survive—Rejoice!

Each moment is a precious opportunity, a chance to delight in God and abide in Him.

Yet it’s all too easy to enter into “survival” mode. We just want to survive this deadline, decision, or season of life. The days become a burden instead of a delight.

When I was feeling tempted to fall into “survival” mode the other day, a dear woman I know inadvertently reminded me that our tasks should be a privilege, not something to survive. But how, I wondered, could I keep from “survival” mode when there was so much to do?

I realized I needed to let the burden of what needed to get done go and rejoice in what God had given me to do each moment! The tasks before me were privileges—and I had no right to just want to get through them. God wanted me to delight in the midst of the things I was trying to survive—to thank Him for all He’d given me to do, and to rejoice in this season of life.

This month, I would encourage you to rejoice in each moment, no matter what it contains. Delight in both the season of life and the tasks God has given you. Don’t just survive—rejoice!


Story: Enjoy the Season!

“Come on, James, let’s go play in the snow!”

James looked up lethargically. His brother already had his snow bibs on and was energetically pulling boots over his feet.

“All right, I guess I’ll go. But I do wish it wasn't so cold! I can't wait for summer,” James grumbled.

For a brief moment, Eric felt tempted to complain about the cold too. But then the boys’ father walked into the room and offered to go sledding with them. One look at his father’s face wiped all thought of complaint from Eric’s mind. How could he complain when his father was with them? Besides, he also remembered how much he and his brother had longed for the cool weather last summer. He wasn’t going to complain about the cold! He was going to enjoy the season!

“It will be summer again soon enough,” he told James as they headed out the door. “Let’s enjoy winter while it’s here!”

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Eric and James were keeping quite busy. Between finishing their schoolwork and all their other spring activities, they could hardly find any time for play or relaxation.

“Oh, man, I just wish things would slow down!” James moaned. “I do wish planting season would hurry up and end. I can’t wait to rest and relax in the summer.” James was just trying to survive the busy planting season.

Eric paused for a moment on his shovel to think about his brother’s words. “I’m sure father wouldn’t give us more work to do than we could handle,” he reflected. “He loves us so perfectly. This hard work must be just what we need. I’m going to choose to enjoy it!”

“But we can’t possibly get it all done!” James countered.

Eric knew James was right. They had more things to do than they could ever hope to finish. James’ words brought the weight of all that needed done pressing down on Eric’s shoulders. Then Eric remembered—it was his father’s problem to figure out how everything would get done! Eric was only responsible for doing each task with a full heart. The smile returned to Eric’s face. He didn’t have to carry the burden; he just needed to be diligent with the tasks his father had given him. 

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Spring eventually ended and summertime came. Now, instead of having too much to do, the boys seemed to have the opposite problem. Besides keeping the crops watered and the grass mowed, there wasn’t much to do.

The inactivity, coupled with the summer heat, was taxing on the boys. Yet both chose drastically different responses. As he had in the past, James chose to complain. He longed for something—anything—exciting to happen. And he longed for a relief from the heat!

Eric, however, again chose to rejoice in the season. Although he, like James, felt the heat, he knew autumn would come soon enough, bringing cooler temperatures. And while he liked excitement just as much as his brother, Eric chose to use the quiet summer season to spend extra special time with his father. He spent hours sitting at his father’s workbench listening—and learning. The more he sat there, the more confident he became that his father would give him just what he needed in each season of life. He had only to trust and delight.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1


Homeschool Tip: Surviving or Thriving?

-- By Cris Loop

Do you sometimes feel like you are “surviving” this homeschool journey instead of the “thriving” in it? 

If so, you are not alone. It is so easy to fall into “survival” mode to get things done. We tell ourselves this is a temporary situation, ignore the warning signs, and get busy accomplishing everything that needs done. Before we know it, we are operating in the flesh apart from God’s joy and peace. Although we’re often outwardly successful, we don’t even realize that we are merely surviving when we could be thriving. 

So how do we stop “surviving” and start “thriving”? Recognizing that we’ve fallen into “survival” mode is a good start. Recognizing that we have a choice is also important. We can keep carrying our own burdens and rely on our strength, or we can surrender our lives to God and choose to let Him carry our burdens and rely on His strength. I can assure you God is much more reliable and much stronger than we are! 

Another helpful thing we can do is to make sure we’re in God’s Word. Only as we are in His Word—and really in it, letting it speak to us, not just reading it as an academic exercise—will we be armed to face life’s challenges. Just like a plant needs plenty of water and sunlight in order to thrive, we need time with the Lord in order to thrive.

Now I know time might be a scarce commodity, especially during those "survival" times, but there’s nothing more important than maintaining our focus and letting God carry our burdens. And if we really want to spend time with Him, He will show us how to practically find time.

Next time you find yourself “surviving,” stop and refocus. Make sure you’re getting the nourishment you need from God’s Word. Then choose to surrender to Him and hand Him all your burdens and cares, rejoicing in the knowledge that He is in charge. Outwardly, life might look the same. But inwardly, you will be thriving instead of simply surviving as your heart and mind are renewed.

"For the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10b


Hymn/Poem: Father! I Know

-- Author unlisted. 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.

Father! I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me;
The changes that will surely come
I do not fear to see;
I ask thee for a present mind,
Intent on pleasing thee.

I ask thee for a thoughtful love,
Through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
And wipe the weeping eyes;
A heart at leisure from itself
To soothe and sympathize.

I ask thee for the daily strength,
To none that ask denied,
A mind to blend with outward life,
While keeping at thy side,
Content to fill a little space,
If thou be glorified.

 

 

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). 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 web site, 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 always enjoy hearing from you. Drop us a line sometime and share with us your thoughts and suggestions.

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