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  • 1. change your life. change your world. Vol 10 • Issue 2 Renewing your mind The way to a more positive you Answers from God He has one for everything The New York cabby miracle Two lost people find their way
  • 2. Browse our website or contact one of the distributors below to enjoy the inspirational, motivational, and practical help offered in our books and audio-visual material. Vol 10, Issue 2 February 2009 www.activated.org Activated Ministries PO Box 462805 Escondido, CA 92046–2805 USA personally speaking Toll-free: 1–877–862–3228 Email: info@actmin.org www.activatedonline.com Optimist or pessimist? Is your glass half full Activated Europe or half empty? According to staffers at the Bramingham Pk. Business Ctr. renowned Mayo Clinic, your answer to the Enterprise Way second question not only answers the first, Luton, Beds. LU3 4BU United Kingdom but it also reflects your attitudes toward yourself and life in general, +44 (0) 845 838 1384 each of which plays an important part in how well you live and Email: activatedEurope@activated.org possibly even how long you live.1 It almost goes without saying Activated Africa that positive thinkers are far more likely to reach their goals than P.O. Box 2150 negative thinkers. If your thought patterns have that much bearing Westville 3630 on your happiness and well-being, it makes sense to stop from South Africa +27 (83) 556 8213 time to time to examine the way you think and to work at making Email: activatedAfrica@activated.org positive thinking a habit. Activated India In explaining their approach to this subject, the Mayo team P.O. Box 5215 writes in terms of self-talk—the endless stream of thoughts that run G.P.O. through your head every day. Self-talk can be positive or negative, Bangalore – 560 001 and so can its outcome. Positive self-talk promotes positive action India Email: activatedIndia@activated.org and progress, while negative self-talk triggers discouragement and Activated Philippines defeat. P.O. Box 1147 Some self-talk is based on fact, and some on fallacy. The first Antipolo City P.O. step to becoming a more positive thinker is to learn to distinguish 1870 Antipolo City between the two, and to reject the false. It is not true, for example, Philippines Cell: (0922) 8125326 that you can never do anything right. Rejecting such outright lies Email: activatedPI@activated.org eliminates a lot of the negative. Other negative self-talk has an Activated Australia element of truth, like “I probably won’t be able do this because +61 2 8011 4345 I’ve never done it before.” That can be countered with affirmative Email: info@activated.org.au statements, like “Here’s a chance to learn something new.” www.activated.org.au But what about the negative self-talk that stems from hard Editor Keith Phillips truths, like a serious accident or illness or the loss of a loved one? Design Giselle LeFavre How can we think positively about those? There are good answers Production Jessie Richards to that, too, but I’m not going to give them away here. You’ll find them on the following pages. © 2009 Aurora Production AG www.auroraproduction.com Keith Phillips All Rights Reserved For Activated Printed in Taiwan by Chanyi Printing Co., Ltd All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/positive-thinking/SR00009 1 Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Just sing! By Mila Govorukha scene—the potholed asphalt road the gentle forest, about cool, flow- lined with bench frames with no ing, sparkling waters that wash seats, the bridge that had been the old away. She wasn’t think- I was awakened early by a choir all but destroyed, the small café ing about how she looked or her of birds. Singing, chirping, chant- without doors or glass in the win- performance. She was just singing ing, chiming, and conversing, dows, the flowerbeds overrun with with all of her being. their melodies were loud, joyful, weeds. Don’t step onto the grass, I I don’t know how long I sat and everywhere—nature’s own reminded myself. There could be there watching her, but I forgot surround sound. Some friends mines! For a few moments I forgot about everything else. I listened and I were camping in a wooded about the birds. Why did this and sang along. I sang about the area near Mostar, the 600-year- happen? Who was responsible for feeling of freedom I felt rising old city that was often in the news this mess? in me, about new possibilities, during the Yugoslav Wars of the As I neared the teetering re- about new ways of looking at early 1990s. mains of the bridge, I saw a bird life, about a new day full of hope, The birds’ notes rose in pitch on one of the rails. Could she about the beauty of creation and and volume, then swung to a remember? Could she have seen its gentle Creator, about a great whisper, then reached a crescendo someone die here, or have heard love that washes away mistakes of again, victorious, full of inspira- the shooting? the past. It felt good, it felt great, tion and joy. The difficulties fac- Then the bird began to sing, and it felt liberating. ing this ethnically divided country and I forgot about all those ques- Forget about ethnic differences. were clearly the furthest thing tions. Her tiny body quaked as Forget about broken relation- from their little minds. Nearly 15 her song burst forth. The music ships. Forget about the other guy’s years after the official end of the seemed to come from all of her. mistake that never ended in an war, Croatian Catholics, Bosnian The sounds poured out with apology. Learn from the birds. Muslims, and Serb Orthodox are such force and conviction that I With all your being, with all your still learning how to live in the wanted to sing too. She seemed strength, just sing! same cities, how to work together, to be singing about the rising sun, and how to forgive. about a new morning, about the Mila Govorukha is a member I went for a walk along the blue sky, about a new day full of of the Family International narrow river and took in the hope, about beautiful flowers and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 1 3
  • 4. I once talked with a woman who said she tried very hard to think only positive thoughts, but she was never able to keep it up for long. Even when she managed to appear optimistic, inwardly she was often in turmoil. RENEWING Her self-help approach to positive thinking excluded God, so when things went wrong, she didn’t have any- YOUR MIND thing solid to hold on to. That may seem paradoxical—faith in God being something substantial—but it’s true. “Faith is the 2 substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”1 In the face of difficulty and disappointment, By Virginia Brandt Berg faith is far more effective than mere mental exercise because it is backed by promises that God has made in His Word—promises that bring about tangible results when believed and applied to real-life situations. These promises not only have the power to change problem situations; they also have the power to change us. The Bible tells us to “be transformed by the renew- ing of the mind.”2 It is through those “exceedingly great and precious promises” that we “may be partakers of the divine nature.”3 We can, by an act of our will, take our mind off of negative thoughts. Unless we fill that void, however, the negative thoughts will rush back in. What should we replace those negative thoughts with? What is more positive or more powerful than the living Word of the living God? When coupled with prayer, the uplifting, transforming Word of God can give you victory over every ugly, negative thought and its consequences. As you make a consistent effort to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts from God’s Word, it will become a habit; you will learn to—as the Bible puts it—“bring your thoughts into captivity.”4 This is very difficult to accomplish in the tumult of the world. We don’t find the mind of God on the streets of social life or in the hobby shop. To connect with Him, find a place where there are no distractions. “When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”5 There is no place where the mind can be as fully renewed as in the secret place of prayer, alone with God. When we come aside from the temporal things that 1 Hebrews 11:1 distract and harass us, and there in the presence of God 2 Romans 12:2 we put our mind on the things of God, the transforming 3 2 Peter 1:4 4 2 Corinthians 10:5 power of God then begins to work in us, and we are 5 Matthew 6:6 changed, renewed. 1 4
  • 5. A NSW ER S F ROM G OD For all the negative things we You say, “I can’t figure things out.” You say, “I’m afraid.” say to ourselves, God has given God says, “I will direct your steps” God says, “Be not afraid, for I am us His positive responses in the (Proverbs 3:5–6). with you” (Jeremiah 42:11). Bible. You say, “I can’t do this.” You say, “I’m always worried and You say, “It’s impossible.” God says, “You don’t have to do frustrated.” God says, “All things are possible it.—I will” (2 Chronicles 20:17). God says, “Give your cares to Me” with Me” (Matthew 19:26). (1 Peter 5:7). You say, “It’s not worth it.” You say, “I’m so tired.” God says, “It will be worth it” You say, “I don’t have enough God says, “I will give you rest” (Romans 8:18). faith.” (Matthew 11:28–30). God says, “I’ve given everyone You say, “I can’t forgive myself.” a measure of faith” (Romans You say, “Nobody really loves God says, “I forgive you” 12:3b). me.” (1 John 1:9 and Romans 8:1). God says, “I love you” (John 3:16 You say, “I’m not smart enough.” and 13:34). You say, “I can’t manage.” God says, “I give you wisdom” God says, “I will supply all (James 1:5 and 1 Corinthians You say, “I can’t go on.” your needs” (Philippians 4:19). 1:30). God says, “My grace is sufficient and I will always be there to help You say, “I’m not able.” You say, “I feel all alone.” you” (2 Corinthians 12:9 and God says, “You can do it with God says, “I will never leave you Psalm 91:15). My help” (Philippians 4:13 and or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). 2 Corinthians 3:5). Neg ativity—the source and the solution By David Brandt Berg The Bible calls the Devil “the accuser of the descends on you with his dark thoughts about saints.”1 He picks at all the lacks and shortcom- yourself or others, don’t listen to him. Listen to ings and weaknesses and little failures. If you start Jesus instead. Think positive thoughts. Remind listening to him, you’re beaten, because there will yourself constantly of the good. When you think always be something more you could have done or positively about yourself and others, it chases away something you wish you hadn’t done. There will the doubts and the fears and nagging accusations always be something that the Devil can pick on if from the Devil. Fill your mind and heart and he wants to, and he sure wants to! mouth with positive things. Count your blessings But thank God for Jesus! He’s the antidote. and put the Devil on the run! Let the light in, and Jesus always points out the good things. He never the darkness will flee. 1 loses faith in us and He never stops loving us, even when we do make mistakes. So when the Devil 1 Revelation 12:9–10 5
  • 6. Greater Ends By Alex Peterson In The Horse and His Boy, one of the seven novels the cry of jackals, followed by the terrifying roar in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series, of a lion, he opens his eyes and is relieved to find a boy named Shasta dreams of traveling to the only the cat. unknown north, which turns out to include the After meeting up and learning of a plot by magical land of Narnia. One night Shasta over- evildoers to invade Archenland, a small kingdom hears the fisherman he has been led to believe is that borders Narnia, and then conquer Narnia his father sell him to a noble from a neighboring itself, the four are off to warn Archenland’s King kingdom. (We find out much later that Shasta Lune when another lion comes upon them. This had been shipwrecked as a baby and was found by causes the horses to run even faster, but the lion the fisherman.) As Shasta awaits his new master overtakes them and attacks Aravis. Shasta drives in the stable, he is surprised to find out that the the lion away. The horses are exhausted, so Shasta noble’s stallion, Bree, is a talking horse from leaves them and Aravis in the care of a kindly Narnia. Bree explains that he was kidnapped as a hermit and runs on foot to warn the king. foal and sold as a warhorse, and suggests that they Shasta meets up with King Lune and his escape together. Their journey north is long and hunting party, delivers the message, and perilous, and they have several encounters with heads off with them on a borrowed horse, but lions along the way. gets separated in the fog. Lost and downcast, During the first, Shasta and Bree meet two oth- Shasta senses a presence walking beside him ers who are trying to escape to Narnia—Aravis, a in the darkness. Eventually the two get into a young aristocrat who is being pressured into mar- conversation, and Shasta recounts what he sees rying an unsavory character, and her talking mare, as his many misfortunes, including his recent Hwin, who was also kidnapped from Narnia. The encounters with lions. The presence turns out four decide to travel together. to be Aslan, the “Great Lion” from the other When Shasta is separated from the others, he Narnia books, who reveals that he was the single arrives first at their prearranged meeting place lion Shasta has encountered on his journey: and must spend the night alone at the spooky “I was the lion who forced you to join with ancient tombs. He is awakened by a rustling in Aravis,” Aslan tells Shasta. “I was the cat who the brush, but it is only a cat, who settles in at comforted you among the tombs. I was the lion Shasta’s side. When Shasta is awakened again by who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I 6
  • 7. was the lion who gave the horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the [lifeboat] in which you lay, a child near death, so it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.” A golden light breaks through the fog, and This children’s fantasy contains some timeless Shasta turns to see “pacing beside him, taller than truths: The difficulties we face in life are not left the horse, a Lion. It was from the Lion that the to chance. God allows each one for a specific light came. No one ever saw anything more ter- purpose, all can ultimately work out for our good, rible or beautiful.” and none are too great for us to overcome with Aslan vanishes, Shasta finds his way to God’s help. The “lions” that we fear are actually Archenland, and King Lune then recognizes our salvation, because without them we wouldn’t him as his own son Cor, the long lost elder twin reach our destination; we’d never become the of Prince Corin and therefore heir to the throne. people God wants us to be. Cor and Aravis eventually marry. “And after From our vantage point, troubles hardly seem King Lune’s death they made a good King and like good things, but God knows what He’s doing. Queen of Archenland.” He knows where we should be in every sphere of our lives, and He will help us get there if we will 2 do our part, which begins with trusting Him that whatever troubles we encounter on the way are God uses our external problems and within His benevolent control. our inner torments; He uses our failures God often lets us get to a point where our own and our successes, our trials and our resources aren’t enough, but He never brings us to temptations to achieve His purposes for a point where our only choice is to give up. We al- our lives. If we are His, we are held by ways have the choice to turn to Him and draw on Him in a love that will never let us go. We His resources to get us through, to depend more need never fear the circumstances around on Him. When we choose that, He never fails to us.—Coty Pinckney come through for us one way or another. 1 7
  • 8. Feeling the Squeeze Q: If God loves me, why does He let bad things ANSWERS happen to me? TO YOUR QUESTIONS A: One advantage of passing successful lives, so we don’t need does so for the express purpose through trying times is that we any help—or interference. of bringing us closer to Him. He are drawn closer to God by being We don’t see what we’re miss- puts the squeeze on so we will call drawn closer to Jesus, our Savior ing, but He does. He knows that out to Him for help. He does this and Friend. We seek safety and we truly do need Him, and He not to hurt or punish us, but to security in His arms, and we find knows how much more He has to strengthen us. He knows that in that and more. He loves us with a offer if we depend on Him. depending on Him, our spiritual love that is everlasting and never He wants to teach us to lean strength and resilience to life’s changes. He has so much to give on Him and avail ourselves of difficulties will grow, and that as us, and He desires to help us in His strength, which is infinitely we draw closer to Him and be- so many ways. He wants to spend greater than ours. But how can come more like Him, we will be time with us, and He longs to that happen if we ignore Him or much happier and more fulfilled have us close to Him, always by shut Him out of our lives? in the long run. His side, to teach us, and to make If we didn’t have troubles and If we will turn to Jesus in our us more like Himself. tribulations, we wouldn’t feel the times of trouble, He will prove to Unfortunately it’s just part of need for or find refuge in His us in those trying moments how human nature that when every- arms, and we wouldn’t learn to much He loves us. The problem thing goes right, we don’t feel find strength and comfort in com- may not go away instantly, but such a pressing need for God and munion with Him and study of He will give us “the peace of His help and strength in our lives. His Word. God, which surpasses all under- When everything is going our This may not sound like good standing,” and help us appreciate way, we often get the very wrong news to you, but it is: God not the good that He is working in idea that we’re strong and suf- only allows hardships, but He our lives.1 1 ficient in ourselves, that we don’t often sends them. He fashions need Him. We’re living happy, them specifically for us, and He Philippians 4:6–7 1 8
  • 9. Rainy day remedy By Victoria Olivetta As far back as I can remember, I way home. Better to be home and wet didn’t like cloudy days, especially in than stuck there and wet, I reasoned. wintertime. They seemed endless and By the time I got home I was sure I without hope, chilling both body had more water in my clothes and and soul. hair than was left in the clouds. One Still, they are a part of life, so I hot shower and lunch put it all be- decided to learn to like them. hind me. I felt wonderful. Over the past few years I’ve When I had been caught in the managed to enjoy them more. Now cold and rain, I had prayed for all they don’t seem so dreary. My secret? the people who are the victims of Actually I have several. disaster. Not disasters like burn- Sometimes I take advantage of ing the chicken or having their hair those days to bake a cake, cookies, or color turn out all wrong—I mean something else special to enjoy with real disasters. Disasters like being coffee. The entire house smells of left homeless by a tornado, with no freshly brewed coffee and homemade hot shower, dry clothes, or warm goodies, and that creates a warm, meal to set things right. Or just as satisfied feeling. bad, people having everything they I’ve also learned that I can help thought would make them happy, brighten the day by what I wear, like but still feeling empty, lonely, fragile. a favorite brightly colored sweater or When bad weather or some other There is little differ- a little extra jewelry. circumstance has you down, praying ence in people, but Most of all I’ve learned to thank for someone else who has it worse that little difference God for those days. I’m still not puts things in perspective and does makes a big difference. crazy about them, but I’m healthy, the soul good, like a hot shower The little difference is in a house without leaks, and I have warms the body after getting caught attitude. The big dif- a nice warm bed, food on the table, in the rain. Praying for someone ference is whether it is and somebody to enjoy my blessings who is suffering, alone, or powerless positive or negative. with. to change some other unfortunate —W. Clement Stone Not too long ago, I was out on one circumstance not only sends divine of those days. Although it was over- help their way, it also lifts the spirit, cast, I didn’t expect it to actually rain. like the smell of freshly brewed Mid-morning, 25 blocks from home, coffee and homemade cookies. I was caught in a downpour. I found some partial shelter and waited Victoria Olivetta is a member there for an hour for the rain to stop. of the Family International in When it didn’t, I decided to make my Argentina. 1 9
  • 10. THE N EW YOR K CA BBY MIR ACLE By Joyce Suttin It had been a rough few at an all-time low? My life was home. All I had was the address months. I desperately wanted spinning out of control. of the mission on the Lower a baby, to have a little one to After what seemed like East Side where we would be hold in my arms, to call my forever, we arrived at the bus working, in an area known as own. Twice I had miscarried. terminal in New York City. Hell’s Kitchen. I held these hurts up before I had been to New York a few Fear began to set in as I God, shaking them in His face times to visit Dan’s parents, stepped outside once more and and saying, “See what You did but always felt overwhelmed. hailed a taxi. When I gave the when I trusted You to answer The city was too big, too cabby the address of the mission, my prayer and give me a baby?” busy, too impersonal. I usually he asked gruffly, “Really?” He I just couldn’t move on. walked around like a tourist, flicked on his meter and pulled But this day I was moving looking up. I wasn’t looking at away from the curb. on, at least physically. My the skyscrapers, though; I was The meter seemed to turn husband and I were moving to searching for a patch of blue sky. over faster than the tires as we New York to work at a mission I found my way to a pay inched our way through traffic. on the lower East Side. I needed phone and called my in-laws’ I pulled out my wallet and the change. Dan had gone ahead number, desperate to hear to his parents’ apartment in Dan’s voice. Some of what little Manhattan, while I had made a money I had with me was eaten detour through Boston to return by broken payphones, but I a child we had been caring for to wasn’t worried yet. Dan would his parents. During the long bus pick me up soon. ride, I curled against the window When I finally found a and wept. phone that worked and got My doctor thought that my through to the number, there last pregnancy had been what was no answer. I bought a cup they call a hysterical preg- of coffee and tried again. Still nancy—all of the symptoms had no answer. been in my head. That had been I stepped out on the street by a humiliating blow, insult to a taxi stand, and realized it was injury. I had been so sure! getting dark. City lights blurred Now I wasn’t sure what I the tears that once more filled wanted. As I tried to get com- my eyes. fortable on the bus, I doubted I went back inside and tried everything I had always believed again. Still no answer. I wasn’t and encouraged others to prepared for this. I hadn’t been believe. What business did I clear with Dan about my arrival have doing missionary work? time, and I didn’t have his How could I tell others to trust parents’ address or know how to in God when my own faith was get there. Besides, no one was 10
  • 11. counted the bills again. The given him. Then a very large grievances against God and amount on the meter was rapidly scar caught my attention. It went prayed. “Lord, I’m in a predica- approaching the amount of cash halfway around his neck. This ment! Please show me what to do. I had with me. I had thought was not a man I could easily Should I ask him to stop and get when I jumped into the taxi that relate to or make small talk with. stranded in the middle of New if I didn’t have enough money, As I leaned back in the seat, York City, I know not where? I could run into the mission the total on the meter raced He doesn’t look like the kind of and get the rest, but now I was past the amount in my purse. person who would understand or having misgivings. I should have been more patient. be sympathetic. Please forgive me I leaned over to get a better I should have waited at the for my foolishness and my bad look at the driver in the glow of bus station and kept calling. attitude toward You. Protect me, passing street lights. His face I flashed back to every creepy and show me if there’s anything I had the hard, deep lines of an headline I had ever read about can do to help You get me safely ex-con or a gang member. I cab drivers kidnapping and to my destination.” recalled his gruff tone when he molesting female passengers. The answer came forcefully to questioned the address I had I had made a horrible mistake! my mind. “Tell this man about Then I did something I should Me, like everything depends on have done earlier. I forgot my it.” Before I could reason my way out of it, I took a deep breath and began. 11
  • 12. “I need to make a confession. It was my turn to choke back for it myself. What you are doing This taxi ride is costing a lot more tears. “Jesus hung on the cross is really important. Hell’s Kitchen than I expected, and I don’t have between two criminals. One of is full of people who need to hear enough money with me to pay for them asked for His forgiveness, about Heaven. I’ll pray more now, it. I should have said something and Jesus said, ‘This day you will and I will try to be a better person. sooner. I am on my way to a mis- be with Me in Paradise.’ Jesus God sent you to me.” sion, where my husband and I will said once that He didn’t come to We arrived at the mission, and be working. I am not very familiar he got out and helped me with with New York, and I didn’t real- my bags. I hugged him and told ize how long it would take. I am We come to the point him Jesus would never fail him. so sorry. When we get there I will He waited until someone came have to run inside and get some where we realize that we out to greet me, and then he more money. My husband and I smiled and waved as he drove off. try to live like Jesus did, preaching need to trust Him with So that is how I arrived safely at the Gospel to everyone we meet, the mission. I got through to my and we trust Him to supply our every part of our lives. husband, who apologized for not needs day by day.” staying by the phone. He had ex- As I continued, Jesus gave me pected me to arrive on a later bus. the words to say, “You know, so preach to the good people or the The folks I told about the cab- many people need to feel Jesus’ people who thought they didn’t by were shocked. New York cab- loving, healing touch. He has all need His help. He preached to bies are notoriously some of the the answers they need, whatever the drunks and the prostitutes, hardest people in the world, they their need. He can heal every the people who knew they needed said. They never give free rides to hurt, every heartache. His answers Him. He will be there for you, anybody. That was a miracle. are just a prayer away. Have you too. All you have to do is to ask But I knew that the real miracle ever asked Jesus into your heart?” Him to forgive you, and He will. had not been the free taxi ride. There was a long, heavy silence, He will forgive anything.” The miracle had been that two then a cough, then sobbing. I My own recent past flashed people who both needed to be leaned forward and saw a tear roll through my mind—my doubts closer to God had felt His loving down the cabby’s cheek. and failure to keep trusting the touch. It took the tears running “My grandma used to take Lord when things seemed to go down the face of this seemingly me to church when I was a little so terribly wrong. “He can even hardhearted cabby to make me see kid,” he began in a deep voice forgive us for doubting Him,” I that. The words God gave me for filled with emotion. “She would said, my voice breaking. “When him were just what I needed to talk to me about Jesus. I even we come to the point where we hear. God had sent him to me. prayed with her. But then she realize that we need to trust Him died and nobody has talked to with every part of our lives, when P.S. It wasn’t long before I me about Jesus since. You are we accept the fact that He knows began to feel changes in my body, right. There are so many people exactly what we need and will as well. Something was growing who need to be healed. I need to answer our prayers in His perfect inside of me. It was the new life be healed. I have led a horrible time, that’s when He is able to do I’d been praying for. life. My grandma would be so His greatest miracles.” ashamed of me for all the bad “Don’t worry about the money,” Joyce Suttin is a member of things I have done. I don’t think the cabby said. “I’ll take you the Family International in Jesus would forgive me now.” wherever you need to go, and pay the U.S. 1 12
  • 13. the Valentine Treasure By Nyx Martinez H istory books tell us that during the Feast of Lupercalia—an event that is said be the very best gift she could give the person she truly loved. Not your ordinary Valentine gift, Ericka was surprised when Chris seemed to become addicted to this book. Together, they to be the origin of the modern but it’s sealed and given with love, discovered more hidden treasures celebration known as Valentine’s she wrote. that had been there all along. Day—it was the custom for Ro- Chris was somewhat taken Jesus’ love was binding them man youths to cast lots for a girl aback by Ericka’s gift. After all, closer to each other, helping to bestow gifts on and court the he was a man who had hardly set them to overcome their past following year. Today such a ran- foot inside a church and regarded mistakes, and teaching them to dom way of selecting a sweetheart Christianity as just another open their hearts to each other as has been abandoned. Instead, on religion. never before. February 14th, lovers in many A couple of years passed. The That Bible has since been Chris countries give cards and gifts to Bible sat unused on a shelf, while and Ericka’s source of strength express their love to the ones they the couple’s relationship went and love, and whenever their rela- have romantic feelings for. from shaky to crumbling to seem- tionship seems to thin out again, When I think of Valentine’s ingly hopeless. Chris remembers that day when Day, one love story in particular But it was during this crisis that God gave him a sign through that comes to mind. It began a few the book somehow caught Chris’s gift of love. years ago. … attention. Opening it and reading The reason this story comes to The gift is highly unusual, random passages, he discovered my mind is because Valentine’s Ericka thought with a smile. the missing link in his relation- Day is almost here again. A couple Neither Chris nor Ericka was ship with Ericka. Why had he of years ago on Valentine’s Day, particularly religious, so she not seen it before? There it was, my two friends, Chris and Ericka, didn’t quite know what had so simple, so clear, so profound. gave each other another very spe- led her to this gift idea. But as “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Verse cial gift. They got married. she held the pen to inscribe a after verse and day after day Chris dedication inside the front cover studied the Bible, until at last he Nyx Martinez is a member of of the book, she somehow knew accepted Jesus Christ as his per- the Family International in in her heart that this Bible would sonal Friend and Savior. the Philippines. 1 13
  • 14. WHAT GOD HAS PROMISED By Annie Johnson Flint positively! God has not promised Skies always blue, An optimist sees an opportunity in If I had my life to live over, I Flower-strewn pathways, every calamity; a pessimist sees a would try to make more mistakes. All our lives through. calamity in every opportunity.—Sir I would relax. I would climb more God has not promised Winston Churchill mountains and swim more rivers. Sun without rain, I would pick more daisies. I would Joy without sorrow, When we know that everything has have more actual troubles and fewer Peace without pain. two sides, let us look at the bright imaginary ones.—Don Herold side only.—Mahatma Gandhi God has not promised Obstacles cannot crush me. Every That we shall not know There are always flowers for those obstacle yields to stern resolve. Toil and temptation, who want to see them.—Henri He who is fixed to a star does not Trouble and woe; Matisse change his mind.—Leonardo da He has not told us Vinci We shall not bear It is always possible to be thank- Many a burden, ful for what is given rather than to This is the true joy of life, the being Many a care. complain about what is not given. used up for a purpose recognized One or the other becomes a habit of by yourself as a mighty one; being God has not promised life.—Elisabeth Elliot a force of nature instead of a Smooth roads and wide, feverish, selfish little clot of ailments Swift, easy travel, If you don’t get everything you and grievances, complaining that Needing no guide; want, think of the things you don’t the world will not devote itself Never a mountain, get that you don’t want.—Oscar to making you happy.—George Rocky and steep, Wilde Bernard Shaw Never a river Turbid and deep: It is no use to grumble and com- Happiness is what we make it. plain; Some people are unbelievably But God has promised It’s just as cheap and easy to rejoice; cheerful in the midst of difficulty or Strength for the day, When God sorts out the weather obstacles; others bemoan the slight- Rest for the labor, and sends rain— est inconvenience. Those who look Light for the way, Why, rain’s my choice. for the upside of any trouble are the Grace for the trials, —James Whitcomb Riley ones who come out ahead in quality Help from above, of life. And the radiance of their Unfailing sympathy, The door to happiness swings positive attitude sheds light on the Undying love. outward.—Søren Kierkegaard paths of others.—Chloe West 14
  • 15. ‘Tis easy enough to be pleasant, When life flows along like a song, But the man worthwhile Is the one who will smile When everything goes dead wrong. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox Feeding reading Thank God for the good How to be more positive Count your blessings. A Spiritual Exercise Psalm 40:5 Psalm 68:19 Recall a discouraging or adverse situation that you were involved in Psalm 126:3 recently, and then think about the good things that came out of your Psalm 139:17 misfortune, or may yet. Try to think of at least three things. (Don’t give up too soon. If you can think of even one good result, more will probably Think positive thoughts. follow.) Then thank God for the good. Psalm 27:13 For example, let’s say you were driving on a deserted road when your Psalm 94:19 car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and when you tried to phone Philippians 4:4 for help, you discovered that the battery in your cell phone was dead. Your Philippians 4:8 thanks to God might go something like this: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Thank You for putting me in that situation because it reminded me that no matter how helpless I feel, I’m never truly helpless because I Fill your heart and mind with always have You. Thank You that even when I was stranded out there with God’s Word. no help in sight and no phone to summon help, I was still able to contact Joshua 1:8 You through prayer, and You came through for me. You sent a friendly Psalm 1:2 stranger to help me, and even though it took awhile for him to get there, 1 Timothy 4:15 I made a new friend that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and he got Your bless- ing for stopping to help, which he would have missed if the opportunity Take a positive approach to hadn’t been there. Thank You for being, like the Bible says, ‘a very present difficulties by seeing the Lord’s help in trouble.’”1 hand in them. Practice this exercise each evening for the next week, and it will Romans 8:28 improve the way you react to troubles when they happen. Casting past 1 Thessalonians 5:18 troubles in a positive light will prepare you to approach future ones posi- James 1:2–4 tively, and that is often half the battle won. 1 1 Peter 4:12–13 If you haven’t yet received Jesus and all that He has to offer, you can right now Cultivate positive attitudes by praying the following prayer. towards others. Jesus, I want to know You personally, so I invite You to come into my heart. Romans 12:10 Thank You for dying for me, so I could be forgiven for my sins, find peace of Ephesians 4:32 heart and mind here and now, and receive God’s gift of eternal life. Amen. Colossians 3:12 Psalm 46:1 1 1 Peter 4:8 15
  • 16. Positive perks When life gets to be too much, when eventually come out of the bad, because if everything around you seems to be falling you love Me, sooner or later it will. That’s apart, when you feel that nothing you do explained in the Bible, in Romans 8:28: “All helps, what should you do?—Think about things work together for good to those who Me. Think about how much I love you. love God.” For those who love Me, I can Think about My power. Think about all your bring good out of anything. blessings, and thank Me. Let Me change your difficult day into a You can praise your way right out of happy one. You can always find something a bad mood! If you thank Me for all the to thank Me for. Praise Me for one thing, good things in your life, the negative and you’ll usually be reminded of another, feelings will dissipate. and another. Happiness will find you as you You may sometimes find yourself in focus on Me and on the positive. situations where there doesn’t seem to be anything at all good to thank Me for. Well, then thank Me for the good that will From Jesus with Love