Christian Perspective

Encouragement

 
 

Christian Perspective


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

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Greetings!

These past few months have been both blessed and difficult months. I fought a cold that wouldn't seem to go away. Then we found out my mom would need to have extensive surgery and (still ongoing) weeks of complete rest. Somewhere in the middle of it my dad and brother both started new jobs.

Needless to say, there have been some difficult days--days where we have felt overwhelmed and discouraged. But God has been faithfully working in the middle of it to bless us and remind us we do not need to let life overwhelm and discourage us. God has proven Himself to be a loving, kind Shepherd upon whom we can truly and completely cast our every care!

FREE RESOURCES
I wanted to share two free resources that have blessed us lately. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have!

Free Audio Series
Some time ago, our family discovered a set of tapes in our basement we'd had for years but never listened to. We began listening, and our hearts were changed again and again by real, direct applications of scriptural truths to daily struggles. We later learned updated versions of the tapes and other tapes by the same speaker were available for free listening online at www.lifegivingwords.com/audio_materials.htm. Most recently, I found myself challenged by the audio on "Casting Your Cares" (Session 7 of the "This Was Your Life" series).

Free E-book
Google Books has posted many wonderful old books online for free! I just finished reading one called The Giant-Killer by A.L.O.E. (Charlotte Maria Tucker) that mixes an allegory on our spiritual warfare with a fictional story of children applying the allegory as they hear it. The book delves into slaying the giants of Sloth, Untruth, Selfishness, Hate, and Pride, making lots of challenging points along the way. You can download a PDF of the book and either print it or read it online.

KEEPING FOCUSED DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
December can be a busy month, and it's easy to, like the people of Bethlehem so long ago, miss out on beholding Christ, God's Promised One.

We have an article on the website titled "Keeping Focused on Christ in the Christmas Season" that offers some ideas you may find helpful. We'd also encourage you to check out our Christmas devotional, Jesus--The Promised One, and consider using it or giving it to a friend. It's simple and easy to use, has little booklets the children will love, and, above all, lays the foundation for understanding the meaning of Jesus' birth by starting back in Genesis and tracing God's plan of redemption. We have heard from many families how much it has blessed them--below is one example.

"I heard my daughters (age 8) prayers mature. We discussed/reinforced her understanding of why Jesus was born. We got into the habit of reading every day! She also gained an understanding about the difference between following the law and following Jesus and why we had to have the law. I also came to a more clear understanding of this." --Homeschool mom in Virginia

The devotional is available as both an e-book and physical kit--you can find more details here.

PARTING NOTE
As the holiday season comes upon us, may we each continually remember to cast our every care upon the One who cared enough to come and die in our stead.

In His Hands,

Katherine


Thought: Let Those Cares Go!

Though I closed my eyes and tried to rest, my mind refused to turn off. I couldn't stop wondering if I should have said or done something different.

Finally, I got up and went over to my computer, hoping to find some nugget of truth to ease my mind. Tears came to my eyes as I caught sight of a scripture someone had posted: "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved" (Psalm 55:22).

All week long, the Lord had been speaking to me about casting my burdens or cares upon Him--now here was that theme again! Suddenly, I knew I needed to hand over to Him all my worry about the situation and what would happen. If I'd messed up, He was big enough to handle it! I didn't need to carry the burden.

Cares come in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. We can be careful about all the things we need to do, careful about what we've said or done, careful about other people, careful about our health--we seem to attract cares like a magnet! At the time, the cares on our shoulder seem heavier than anything else in the entire world could possibly be.

But whatever our care might be, we weren't meant to carry it! We were meant to cast it. It's actually prideful of us to insist on worrying and carrying our cares when God tells us to cast them. God cares perfectly for each one of us. He is our infallible heavenly Shepherd. He urges us to humble ourselves--admit our inability--and cast every worry, burden, and care upon Him.

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 1 Peter 5:6,7 (KJV)


Story: The Folly of Carrying Cares

Bridget had a problem--a problem that kept getting bigger and bigger. All day long, she kept getting packages called CARES handed to her. The CARES came in all sorts of shapes and sizes and from all different sources. And, rather than handing each new package to her father, who kept offering to carry them for her, Bridget insisted on carrying them herself. After all, it was part of being responsible, wasn't it?

An onlooker looking at Bridget might have been uncertain whether to laugh or cry. Bridget was running about the house with a huge mound of packages in her arms. She couldn't see where she was going. She couldn't see the needs other people had. She couldn't see the lovely gifts her father had laid out for her. The pile of CARES in her arms blocked her vision!

Bridget burst into tears. She couldn't stand it anymore! Her arms ached so dreadfully from carrying the weight of all her CARES. She had endured as long as she could, thinking all the while it would get better--the CARES would eventually go away. But for every CARE she disposed of, another came! She was certain no one else in the entire universe had been tried quite like she was being tried.

Bridget felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. It was her father. "My dear daughter, you can't carry these CARES."

Bridget choked back a sob. "I know I can't! But what am I to do? They all need carried and dealt with. And I do so want to serve you, Father, and do a good job..."

To Bridget's surprise, her father started picking up the packages in his own strong arms. "Let me carry the CARES. You weren't designed to carry them. They're only blocking your vision."

"Blocking my vision?" Bridget queried.

Her father nodded. "You didn't see the flower bouquet I'd left for you in the hallway did you? Or the tears in Jill's eyes this morning that betrayed her need for a hug? Or the spectacular sunrise?"

Bridget shook her head. She hadn't seen any of those things because of the CARES in her arms. She remembered passing Jill that morning, but rather than giving her a hug, she'd snapped at her and mumbled something about how she could use a little more help. She'd been asking her father to help her bless others, but she'd been blinded to the opportunities before her because of these CARES! What a relief it would be to place them all in her father's hands. She watched him pick them up with mounting joy...until he touched one of the largest CARES.

"Be careful with that one!" she cautioned. "I wouldn't hold it on its side like that. It's very important."

"Bridget, if I'm going to carry your CARES, you have to trust me. I love you better than life itself. I will handle your CARES better than you ever could--but you have to trust that, even if things don't turn out as you imagined, I know what I'm doing."

Bridget blushed. How silly to doubt her father! She knew he was completely wise and caring and loved her perfectly. "I'll trust you," she whispered.

Bridget stood up again with a light feeling she hadn't felt for months. She was free! She could see and move at liberty again without the weight of all those CARES bogging her down. She set off toward the kitchen with a song in her heart...

Out of the corner of her eye, Bridget caught sight of one of the CARES her father was carrying. "Oh, I'd better carry that one," she exclaimed, grabbing the CARE as she spoke. "I have to take care of it this afternoon, and if I don't carry it, I might forget."

Bridget's father shook his head. "My darling daughter, can't you trust me to remind you? Here, write yourself a note if you will, but don't carry the CARE. If you carry it, you'll only end up bogged down again."

Bridget knew her father was right. She handed back the CARE to her father and again felt the joy of being at liberty.

Yet the strangest thing kept happening. All day long, she continued to collect CARES. At first, Bridget waited until she was overwhelmed and couldn't see at all before she remembered to hand the CARES over to her father. Gradually, however, she began to realize she didn't have to wait. She could trust her father, admit that she couldn't carry any of it herself, hand her father each CARE as it arrived, and live in freedom!

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 1 Peter 5:6,7 (KJV)


Homeschool Tip: Dealing with the Cares

- Cris Loop

Cares, concerns, or WORRIES! We all have them. They range from choosing the right curriculum to genuine concerns about our personal ability to teach our children. They might include socialization fears, future job and family opportunities for our children, or simply the persistent thought that others think we are weird. You name it, and I'm sure someone has carried it as a care.

God did not intend for it to be this way. As I was lying awake at the hospital unable to move after a recent surgery, I experienced a lot of cares! Was my tumor cancer? Would I have the opportunity to share the Lord with those I'd been neglecting? Would my children soon forget me? As you can see, my mind was going in a very care-filled direction. I was almost overwhelmed. But a strange thing began to happen as I began to identify these cares one by one. I was able to give them to the Lord and trust Him. Before I knew it, I was in a place where my only concern was that I please God with my life. This was truly freeing.

So this month, as you give God your cares, make it your prayer to please Him with your life. As other cares try to creep in, cast them out! Can you imagine the difference it will make to your homeschooling day if you weren't carrying any concerns? I'm praying you'll give it a try.

PS: The tumor was cancer-free, and God is miraculously healing the large incision from the inside out!


Hymn/Poem: The King of Love My Shepherd Is

- Henry W. Baker, Hymns Ancient and Modern (London: 1868). Taken from Cyber Hymnal.

The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death's dark vale I fear no ill
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread'st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house forever.


Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, 2009. Where marked Cris Loop, articles written by Christina Loop, 2009. Feel free to forward these e-mails in their entirety and to reprint/share articles by Katherine or Cris Loop within these e-mails (please include a link to our website 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.