Christian Perspective

Encouragement

 
 

Christian Perspective


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

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Devotional Idea

With Valentine's Day approaching and heart decorations readily available, February is a great month to spend some extra time studying and pondering God's unconditional love (the realization of which helps dispels our worries and fears)! Here's a simple devotional idea.

Write verses on God's love on heart-shaped pieces of paper and use them to decorate your home (putting them above light switches can give them lots of exposure)--or put them in a bowl and pull one out each day. Children can help with the decorating the hearts (and even with finding the verses). Here are a few verses to get you started: John 3:16-20; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 5:6-8; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Romans 8:35-37; 1 John 4:18; Isaiah 43:1-4; 1 John 4:7-8.

May the remembrance of God's unconditional love brighten your day!


Thought: Thought Maintenance

Have you ever noticed how the inside of our refrigerators need continual "maintenance"? Salad dressings, cheese, leftovers--it seems everything ends up in the wrong spot, making it difficult to find what we need. Plus, not only do things end up in the wrong spot, but they also tend to leak, rot, and otherwise make a mess.

After some friends remarked on this dilemma the other day, it occurred to me how our thoughts, much like the insides of a refrigerator, need continual maintenance. Our minds might be fastened on the Lord one moment, but then something comes up that upsets us. Suddenly our thoughts are all jumbled and in the wrong place.

We have to continually choose to take our thoughts captive--to surrender worries, cares, and desires and resist the temptation to focus on others, ourselves, and our situations. We serve a mighty God who loves us perfectly and holds us in the palm of His hands--why worry, fear, or strive on our own?

In the busyness of life, it's easy to let "refrigerator maintenance" go--to add a box of baking soda and call it good--but we cannot afford to let "thought maintenance" go. If our minds are filled with other thoughts, we're not going to be able to hear the Lord's voice over the buzz. We're going to miss out on walking in joy and peace--and may walk right past the blessings and ministry opportunities God has lined up for us.

May we continually bring our thoughts into captivity!

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthian 10:3-6 (KJV)

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 (KJV)


Story: Skiing Free

Amy froze at the top of the slope, fears whirling through her head and incapacitating her body. Her knee hurt from a previous fall--what if it would not hold up while she skied down the mountain? Would she be able to keep up with her family? What if she failed miserably? What if she fell and hurt herself? She had seen a patch of ice earlier--what if more ice lay under the snow, waiting to send her sprawling?

With these fears whirling through her mind, Amy struggled down the slope. She hardly noticed the breathtaking view the mountain afforded, and she completely missed an opportunity to help her younger sister up from a fall.

Amy's body, too, felt the effects of her internal worries. Afraid of falling, her muscles unconsciously tensed and exerted much more effort than the hill required. In fact, by the time she reached the bottom, Amy had completely exhausted herself.

"Amy, relax!" her father encouraged her as they rode up the lift together. "Give God your fears. Trust the Lord to handle what might happen--to give you the grace for whatever comes--and enjoy what He's given you in the present."

Amy took her father's words to heart. Handing her cares to the Lord, she scooted off the lift and headed down the mountain.

Choosing to trust instead of worry made a huge difference. The slopes that seemed so impossible before were now actually enjoyable! Amy could hardly get enough of the snow-covered trees, so pure white in their glory, or of the mountain peaks that reigned majestically over the whole scene.

As her thoughts turned from herself (which is where they had been before), Amy not only found joy, but also encountered plenty of opportunities to bless those around her, whether by listening to her younger brother describe the side trail he had explored or by encouraging her sister or lending her a hand.

Amy could now see how her worries and fears, far from helping her, had only immobilized her, robbed her of joy, affected her appraisal of the slope, and kept her from enjoying the beauty and helping those around her. She could hardly wait to tell her father what a difference trusting had made!

Her father smiled broadly as she shared what had happened. "Always remember, my dear, whether on a mountain slope or in daily life, worrying only immobilizes us, keeps us from enjoying what God has given us, and blinds us to the opportunities to serve surrounding us. It's ever so much better to ski--and live--in the freedom of simply trusting the Lord."

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Luke 12:22-26 (KJV)


Homeschool Tip: Trusting God

- Cris Loop

"Relax, let go, be still and know that I am your God"--this line from a song* based on Psalm 46:10 has been going over and over again in my mind these past few months as I have struggled in my thought life. I've asked "why?" so many times. Why am I troubled? Is it because things aren't going how I had planned? Why am I being silent when I want to speak up? Why is there so much conflict all around me? My list of questions--of inner fears or worries--could go on.

In homeschooling, worries and fears arise a lot too. Can I really teach my children? Are they learning what they need to know? Will they turn out okay? Am I using the right curriculum? Will my son ever enjoy reading? Why is my daughter struggling? Is it because of something I'm doing wrong? The list of homeschool questions--of homeschool worries or fears--can go on and on too.

When I looked at the line in the song and its profound words, I saw a very clear answer to overcoming worry and fear. It can be summed up in three words: God is trustworthy.

So, if you are struggling with worries or fears in your homeschooling this month, stop and ponder the call God gave you when you began homeschooling; relax; let go of your concerns, worries, and fears; and trust God. Be still by listening and obeying what He directs you to do, because He really is BIG enough to handle everything pertaining to you.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

*John G. Elliott, "Relax, Let Go" (Galestorm Music (ASCAP), 1999), In the album In the Quiet (Galestorm Music, 2000).


Hymn/Poem: Tomorrow

Tomorrow--
A sneaky thief,
It seeks to rob me
Of the joy
That's mine today.

Cleverly, cunningly
It scripts screenplays
Of challenges and pleasures
That tomorrow
May or may not bring.
It whispers fears--
It dangles hopes--
By capturing my thoughts,
Would it consume today?

Today--
It's all that's truly before me--
All God has given me grace to bear.
Tomorrow's joys and challenges--
I put them in God's hands,
And I choose to leave them there.


Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, 2011. Where marked Cris Loop, articles written by Christina Loop, 2011. 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.