Christian Perspective

Encouragement

 
 

November 2008 Newsletter

A Blessed Thanksgiving to You All!

November 2008

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

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Thought: Choosing to Give Thanks

I've been struck lately by the vital role thanksgiving plays in the Christian's life. Philippians 4 tells us to,

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)

And Colossians echoes the same theme:

"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;" Colossians 4:2 (KJV)

It's so easy to be "careful" for things--to begin to think about the things we must do, or the circumstances or people we wish would change. God calls us instead to "be careful for nothing"--to take it all to the Lord in prayer "with thanksgiving." The "with thanksgiving" part has been hitting home lately for me. I realized that so often I pray in a hopeless sort of way, as in a "Oh, Lord, this just looks so impossible." But we're called instead to pray with thanksgiving--with an attitude thanking Him for the way He's already provided for us to walk through whatever it is we're facing. And it's amazing what a difference choosing to give thanks makes! Despair turns to joy as we eagerly wait to see how God's going to work. Not that He'll necessarily make things turn out the way we want, but we know He'll do what's ultimately best.

Next time you feel "careful" or overwhelmed/discouraged about things, stop and choose to give thanks. By giving thanks, I don't mean thanking God for all the things you have, but rather choosing to thank Him for being God and turning your eyes off yourself and your surroundings and unto Him. Even if you don't feel thankful, force your mind to reflect on what He has accomplished in saving you and on His character. Remind yourself of who He is--the great, all-powerful God who has everything in His hands and before whom all will one day bow. Ask Him to help you live in an attitude of thanksgiving every day.


Story: The Opinion that Counts

"Jeremy, do you want to go for a swim?"

Jeremy looked up from his work to see Mike and a few other boys calling to him from the road. A swim sounded so good just then--and there was nothing wrong with swimming. But deep down, Jeremy knew it wasn't what the King had given him for the day.

"No, my master has given me other work to do," Jeremy replied, turning back to his task. He could feel his cheeks turning red as Mike and the others laughed at him and went their way. It was hard being different!

Yet Jeremy knew the King knew best and would give just what he needed. The other day, the King had sent him for a refreshing swim, but today he'd been instructed to work on a different task. So Jeremy chose to follow the King's instructions, even if the others didn't understand.

*****************

"Jeremy, you really should help out at this class. The people need your skills. It would be a great service to the King!"

Jeremy's heart felt torn in two. Should he help out at this class? It seemed like a good thing to do...a thing he could do for his King! And he knew many of his friends, who also loved and served the King, were participating in this service. He just wasn't sure...

That evening, Jeremy headed straight for the throne room, walking right past all the crowds waiting outside the room. As a child of the King, he knew he could boldly approach the throne any time of day or night. Once inside, he explained his situation to his father. He would never forget the King's words: "My son, don't do things simply because others who love me are doing them. I may have them do things I would never have you do. I deal with each of my children individually. You've done well to come to me and ask--keep asking me what you ought to do."

*****************

No one quite understood Jeremy, but gradually, he ceased to care. All that really mattered was what the King thought.

Many years later, all saw the wisdom of Jeremy's course of action. Each man had to stand before the King and give an account for what he had done. And then, truly, the only opinion that mattered was the King's.

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)


Homeschool Tip: Being Different

- By Cris Loop

Training our children to love the Lord above all else starts with loving the Lord above all else in our own lives. This is not easy. Listening to the Lord can sometimes mean being different. Knowing we cannot serve two masters, it takes a conscience effort to love and serve the Lord when it means going against what other Christians are doing.

Years ago, I was tempted to keep my children in public or Christian schools. I wondered if I was really hearing from the Lord when He told me to homeschool them--after all, the Christians in my church didn't see why I would go against the current system and want to teach my children at home. The children in the Christian schools started their day with prayer and had Christian teachers--surely I was overreacting in feeling God wanted me to teach my own children. It is hard being different.

Today, many will affirm your decision to homeschool, but there will most likely be other things God is calling you to do that others will not understand. Don't be afraid to question the status quo--to take your decisions to the Lord and His Word and walk forward in His truth, even if it's not what "everyone" does.

Please don't take me wrong. We shouldn't go around just insisting on our own way or bucking God-given authority. But we do need to be careful about just assuming that simply because everyone else is doing something, we ought to do it too. We need to purposefully take things to the Lord and let Him show us what He wants for us--and for our children. By doing so, we'll be setting an example for our children to listen to and love the Lord and His Word above all else.


Hymn/Poem: Cast Thy Burden on the Lord

 

- By W.J.K. 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. 149.

Weary pilgrim on life's pathway,
Struggling on beneath thy load,
Hear these words of consolation,--
"Cast thy burden on the Lord."

(Chorus) Cast thy burden on the Lord,
Cast thy burden on the Lord,
And he will strengthen thee,
Sustain and comfort thee;
Cast thy burden on the Lord.

Are thy tired feet unsteady?
Does thy lamp no light afford?
Is thy cross too great and heavy?
Cast thy burden on the Lord.

Are the ties of friendship severed?
Hushed the voices fondly heard?
Breaks thy heart with weight of anguish,
Cast thy burden on the Lord.

Does thy heart with faintness falter?
Does thy mind forget his word?
Does thy strength succumb to weakness?
Cast thy burden on the Lord.

He will hold thee up from falling,
He will guide thy steps aright;
He will strengthen each endeavor;
He will keep thee by his might.

(Chorus) Cast thy burden on the Lord,
Cast thy burden on the Lord,
And he will strengthen thee,
Sustain and comfort thee;
Cast thy burden on the Lord.


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.