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Activated magazine: Passing into Life


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Activated magazine: Passing into Life

  2. 2. “A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on,” the poet Carl Sandburg (1878–1967) wrote. A newborn is an affirmation of life and love and hope. It is also cause for great celebration—the arrival of a brand-new soul, fresh from Heaven. What awaits the little newcomer? All the best, we hope: love, health, happiness, success, and every other good thing that life has to offer. But what if that baby isn’t everything we hoped and prayed and expected it to be? What if it isn’t “normal”? Or what if it won’t be ours to have and hold and love for very long? What then? Does that mean God has changed His mind, that all is lost, that life shouldn’t go on? Such unexpected and unwelcome turns can be devastating unless we know the Lord and have explicit trust in this simple truth: “He has done all things well” (Mark 7:37). God allows “good” and “bad” into all of our lives. “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,” Jesus said in Matthew 5:45. It is how we greet potentially devastating events that makes the difference. The death of a loved one, a life-threatening illness, financial loss, betrayal, being the victim of violence or abuse—if any of these should happen to you or someone you love, would you let them make you bitter, or better? In this issue of Activated you’ll read the firsthand account of one couple who went through a heartrending experience but let the Lord use it to deepen and better their own lives, and to equip them to be a greater help to others in their times of need. Keith Phillips For the Activated family personallyspeaking For a wide range of books and audio and video productions to feed your soul,lift your spirit, strengthen your family,and provide fun learning times for your children, please contact one of our distribu- tors below,or visit our Web site at Activated Ministries P.O.Box 462805 Escondido,CA 92046-2805 USA (1–877) 862–3228 (toll-free) Activated Africa/Europe Bramingham Pk.Business Ctr. Enterprise Way Bramingham Park Luton,Beds.LU3 4BU England (07801) 442–317 Activated India P.O.Box 5215 G.P.O. Bangalore – 560 001 India VISIT US AT EDITOR Keith Phillips DESIGN Giselle LeFavre ILLUSTRATIONS Kristen Dufrane PRODUCTION Francisco Lopez Issue 19 © 2001 Aurora Production,Ltd. All Rights Reserved Printed in Thailand Unless otherwise indicated,all Scripture quotations in Activated are from the New King James Version of the Bible © 1982 Thomas Nelson,Inc. 2 activated issue 19
  3. 3. heaven’s special child T his is the story of our son Gabriel, who was born with Down syndrome and was truly one of Heaven’s “special children.” Although Gabriel only lived on this earth for two years and four months, the Lord used him to touch many other lives and to teach us innumer- able precious lessons of love, faith, conviction, endurance, compassion, humility, courage, prayerfulness, and the reality of Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.” When the doctors first told us that Gabriel had Down syndrome, it was very difficult for us to accept, but as we became more informed, we found out how special Down syn- drome children are. And of course the more we got to know Gabriel and enjoyed his sweet angelic spirit, the less we thought of him as a “retarded” child and the more we suspected that we were like the people who the Bible says had “unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2). Gabriel had several serious phys- ical disabilities from birth, and obvi- ously his body was not designed to last very long. It functioned only by the grace of God and a large daily dose of desperate prayer and praise. Each day was a miracle, a gift. We compiled a list of Bible verses for Gabriel’s health and strength, and referred to it often. The promise we claimed the most was, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29). The Lord surely fulfilled that promise in Gabriel. When Gabriel was six months old, he contracted a severe cough. As we desperately sought the Lord for Gabriel’s healing, He told us that He was trying to teach us endurance. As we dug into the Bible to learn what that meant, we were encouraged to find that this virtue had helped fash- ion many men and women of God into the people He wanted them to be. As for us, we needed to not just pray once and count it done; By Marianne and Jerry Paladino activated issue 19 3
  4. 4. we needed to labor in prayer and keep seeking the Lord with our whole hearts. When we realized this and did our part, then the Lord did His: Gabriel was completely healed from the life-threatening cough. With every crisis, the Lord seemed to teach us a new lesson on healing and fervent prayer, usually by helping us apply something we had read in His Word. It was like a whole new grade in life—one that taught us lessons we couldn’t have learned any other way. Many times we wished we could have been the ones suffering instead of our child, but we came to see that the Lord knew best, as always, because it caused us to fight even more in the spirit for Gabriel than we would have fought for ourselves. Many times we had to use the Word to overcome thoughts that the battle was too hard or that we had brought this sit- uation on ourselves by our mistakes and sins, and therefore deserved this “punishment.” Each time, the Lord gave us just the comfort and strength we needed. Gabriel was our little emissary from Heaven. His real love was books, especially Bible picture books. Pictures of Jesus always made him smile. He also loved for us to sing him songs about Jesus, which he would act out with simple motions. His was a beautiful, pure spirit—like a butterfly in a cocoon just waiting to be set free. Although the Lord had done His best from the start to prepare our hearts for the day that He would call Gabriel home, we nevertheless grew very attached to him. Maybe that was because he was a special child, or maybe because we were aware from the start that he was “on loan from Heaven,” even more temporar- ily than our other children. One day, as Gabriel was espe- cially weak from a bout of the chick- enpox, he began to show unusual signs that seemed to indicate he was going to have convulsions, so we took him to the hospital for a checkup. During what began as a routine examination, Gabriel fainted. As the doctors tried to revive him, we got out a little hymnal that we had with us, and it opened to the song “Some Golden Daybreak.” That seemed to be God’s signal that Gabriel was on his way home. Gabriel never regained conscious- ness. 4 activated issue 19
  5. 5. We felt a tremendous sense of loss, of course, but the Lord com- forted us as only He can. What more could we have asked than to know that Gabriel was happy and whole at last, his suffering ended? Gabriel’s return to Heaven made that place more real to us. We had believed in Heaven before, of course, and had looked forward to exploring its beauties and mysteries some day, but now that Gabriel is there, Heaven seems more like home and we find ourselves loosening our grip on the things of this life. We’ve never been the same since Heaven’s special child came to visit us. Gabriel never belonged to us, you see. He was a messenger on a mission—to melt our hearts and teach us the true values of life. • At Gabriel’s memorial service, someone saw a vision of a butterfly that had just escaped from its cocoon. In a way, Gabriel was like a little caterpillar in this life—in fact, he never even learned to crawl as well as a caterpillar. But now he is like a beautiful butterfly, and has flown to freedom. A week later, Jerry put the vision to song: “The Golden Butterfly.” THE GOLDEN BUTTERFLY By Jerry Paladino Once the night looked kindly, Once the sun did shine, Upon a gentle treasure That once on earth was mine. Once he smiled to see me, And I,to hold him near. But now my eyes are misty, My treasure’s far from here. But I’m happy ’cause you’re happy, ’Cause you’re in Heaven,safe at last. Trials are past; pain is over. That cocoon’s no more your home, For our precious golden butterfly has flown. Thank God the race is over. Thank God the fight is done. Together with our Savior We fought the war and won. With victory now behind us, I long to soon abide There where you are waiting On the Other Side. Once I held a treasure; Now it’s stored away. Once I dreamed of Heaven— It’s real to me today. And all that keeps me earthbound Are those I need to bring When I come to join you Beyond the rainbow’s gleam. I’m happy ’cause you’re happy ’Cause you’re in Heaven safe at last. Peace and joy and love and laughter, All abound in that new home Where our precious golden butterfly has flown. ❑ activated issue 19 5
  6. 6. Sailing Home I am standing on the seashore.A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon,and someone at my side says,“She is gone.”Gone where? The loss of sight is in me,not in her.Just at the moment when someone says,“She is gone,”there are others who are watching her coming.Other voices take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”That is dying. —Henry Scott Holland Where is there a country without sin, crime,lawlessness,bloodshed,disease,death, sorrow,or heartache? Heaven is one“coun- try”where there is an absence of all the prob- lems that are common to any other land, for in God’s country there are no barriers, no walls or curtains to divide; no race barri- ers; no soldiers,because there are no wars; no policemen or prisons,because there is no crime; no beggars,because there is no pov- erty,only plenty for all; no hospitals or phy- sicians,because germs,diseases,disabilities, and sickness are unknown; no undertakers, because there is no death; no separations or broken homes,only love and harmony.What a country! Doesn’t the thought of all that make you homesick for Heaven? —H.Lockyer,adapted Very often people come to me and say:“Mr. Moody,do you think we shall know each other in Heaven?”Very often it is a mother who has lost a child and wishes to see it again.Sometimes it is a child who has lost their mother or father and wants to recog- nize them in Heaven.There is a verse in Scrip- ture in answer to this,and that is:“We shall be satisfied”(Psalm 17:15).It is all I want to know.We will see all those we loved on earth up there,and if we loved them here,we will love them ten thousand times more when we meet them there. —Dwight L.Moody Beyond It seemeth such a little way to me Across to that strange country—the Beyond; And yet,not strange,for it has grown to be The home of those of whom I am so fond.… And so for me there is no sting to death, And so the grave has lost its victory. It is but crossing—with a bated breath And white,set face—a little strip of sea To find the loved ones waiting on the shore, More beautiful,more precious than before. —Ellen Wheeler Wilcox 6 activated issue 19
  7. 7. Feeding Reading Faith Fight = + Victory Endurance To endure means to be patient in adversity,to hold fast. The Lord often tests our faith and endurance. Ezekiel 22:14 2 Timothy 2:3 2 Timothy 4:5 Hebrews 12:7 Rewards await those who endure the testing of their faith. Matthew 10:22 Hebrews 10:35–36 James 1:12 Examples of endurance from God’s Hall of Fame: Abraham:Hebrews 6:15 Moses:Hebrews 11:27 The prophets:James 5:10–11 Jesus:Hebrews 12:1–3 Paul:2 Timothy 3:11; 2:10 S ometimes the Lord lets our faith be tested right to the brink in order to prove that it’s real faith. We’ve got to be willing to trust the Lord, live or die, sink or swim, like Job. Despite the loss of everything dear to him, Job kept trust- ing God. He finally overcame, and in the end God gave him back more than he had lost. Job’s is one of the most glorious testimonies in the whole Bible. In the face of suffering and defeat and discouragement, his faith carried him through. That’s the greatest victory of all—when we seem to be defeated and yet we still trust the Lord. The Lord must really be pleased with that kind of faith. “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). Sometimes life itself is a struggle. It takes faith and courage and a lot of fight. The trouble with some people is that they stop trying in trying times. They faint in their minds (Hebrews 12:3 KJV). They give up mentally and spiritually. But God says, “Men ought always to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1), and to “not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). The will is powerful! “The spirit of a man will sustain him” (Proverbs 18:14). Strong faith plus a strong will can overcome even seemingly insurmountable difficulties. So don’t give up too soon, don’t get rescued prematurely, don’t quit just before the victory. Anything wonderful can happen in that little margin of time when you don’t give up, but keep on believing and praying. The Lord loves to watch you make it in spite of all the tests and trials. He loves to watch you run and win the race, endure the affliction, and fight through to victory! —David Brandt Berg ❞ ❝Prayer for the day I thank You,Jesus,not only for the happy times You give me,but also for the troubles and tears.Thank You for the tough times that drive me to You. They’re worth it,because You’re always here for me,to comfort me and see me through.I can always cling to You and You will hold me,no matter what may come my way.What could be better than that? activated issue 19 7
  8. 8. Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg W hen you have faith in God, you don’t have to grieve when loved ones go on to be with the Lord, “as [do] others who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Of course, bidding loved ones farewell is in some ways a sad occasion, but if you and they love Jesus, you know you’ll see them again. And though you will miss them, you can be happy for them, knowing that they are finally free from all the trials and troubles of their earthly bodies, that they have gone on to a far better life. Now our mortal bodies and the problems of physical life drag us down, but once we leave this life and pass into the spirit world, we won’t have those weights anymore. We will have graduated from the grade of earthly The American newspaper editor and columnist Arthur Brisbane (1864–1936) once pictured a crowd of grieving caterpillars carrying an empty cocoon to its final resting place.While the poor,distressed,black-clad caterpillars were grieving for their lost companion,a beautiful but- terfly fluttered happily above,forever freed from its earthly shell. Needless to say,Brisbane had the average funeral in mind and sought to convey the idea that when our loved ones pass,it is foolish to remember only the cocoon and concentrate our attention on the remains while forget- ting the“butterfly.” 8 activated issue 19
  9. 9. life, and passed into the eternal heav- enly realm of the spirit (1 Corinthians 15:53–54; 2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:1–4). Most people try to not think about death. Even though they know it will come to them sooner or later, they try to just ignore it and make no preparations. That may seem fine when they’re young and in good health, when death seems far away, but when they come face to face with death through accident, illness, or old age, if they don’t know the Lord and His plan for salvation, it can be a very frightening prospect indeed—like taking a plunge into the unknown. The Bible talks about those who live in bondage through fear of death (Hebrews 2:14–15). The reason most people fear death is that they’re not prepared to die. But it’s different for those who have received Jesus as their Savior. They know where they’re going—Home to Heaven—and with Jesus as their guide, they have noth- ing to fear or dread. Death for born-again children of God is no loss, for “to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Their troubles are over! They may experi- ence a little bit of pain for a moment, but then they’re free. For us who know and love Jesus, death will be sweet release to a new world and a new life. These old bodies are so heavy; they get tired, hurt, and sick. But the moment we die, we will instantly be liberated from the shackles of the flesh into the boundless world of the spirit. This is why the apostle Paul fearlessly flaunted these words in the face of death: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor- inthians 15:55 KJV). Jesus took the sting out of it. We pass through death, but without sting, and through the grave, but with victory for us, not the grave. It’s our homecoming, our deliverance; it’s our coronation day! The end of the road will be just the beginning! We’ll meet our departed loved ones again, find our lost loves, and be joined with them all in an eternal life of love and joy and heavenly happiness forever with the God of love! Oh, what a day that will be when you join Jesus in His heavenly king- dom to reign with Him for evermore (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 22:5). You will experience joy such as you have never known, you will see glories such as you have never seen, and you will know that it has been worth it all! “He who hears My Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and … has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25–26). “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1–3). As the beautiful old hymn says: When morning dawns,farewell to earthly sorrow, Farewell to all the troubles of today. There’ll be no pain,no death in God’s tomorrow, When morning dawns and shadows flee away. How little then these trials of life will seem, How light the heavy burdens we have borne. The deepest sorrow,like a passing dream, Will be forgotten in that blessed morn. ❑ activated issue 19 9
  10. 10. Helping others— from a hospital bed!From Sandra Bellaviti,Tanzania E ven before I started serving the Lord as a full-time missionary, I wanted to work in a hospital to help those in need, not just phys- ically, but emotionally and spiritu- ally. More recently, while living in the Ukraine, I prayed for the Lord to use me in such a ministry. I got my chance a short while later when I developed a serious stomach and intestinal disorder and found myself in a hospital ward for 24 days! God turned my adversity to others’ good. It didn’t take long to see the need and suffering of those around me. I asked the Lord to help me be an encouragement to them, and went to work. I used Family posters to brighten the walls of the room I shared with four other women, and brightened their spirits in the pro- cess. I also took time to meet and talk with others on my floor of the hospital. Twenty-five-year-old Daniela was given the bed next to mine. She has the beauty and all the airs of a model or actress, I thought as she walked into the room for the first time. Despite her practiced poise, I could tell she was afraid. After she settled in, I introduced myself. “I prayed that the person in the bed next to mine would be someone extra special to Jesus,” I told her. At those words she burst into tears and told me that she no longer believed that God loved her. She was an actress and singer, she went on to explain, and had per- formed in everything from TV com- mercials and music videos to stage plays and operas. It was then that I realized I had once heard her sing on a tape, and my heart had gone out to her at the time. Her song had seemed to come from a heart crying out for real love—God’s love. “Just as I was enjoying success,” she said, “my life suddenly crum- bled. I had known my fiancé since childhood, and we were very much in love. Then he was killed in a motorcycle accident! I lost all faith in a loving God.” For the next two hours she told me her life story, including some things she said she had never told even her best friends. After her boy- friend’s accident she cut her long hair, quit seeing her friends, and stopped singing and acting. She sat in her room alone and cried for six months. When she finally tried to 10 activated issue 19
  11. 11. pull herself out of the deep depres- sion she was in, she didn’t have the strength. Then she found she had tumors in one of her breasts. Her life had reached its lowest, darkest point. At the end of that first conver- sation, Daniela asked Jesus to come into her heart and help her over- come the problems that had plagued her since she lost her boyfriend. By the next day she was telling the other women in our room that the Lord now lived in her heart, and how He had taken away her bitter- ness and depression. She also told them that I was a missionary, and that I had a beautiful prayer to pray with them. At her urging, they also prayed to receive Jesus as their Savior. When her mother visited, Daniela told her that she had asked Jesus into her heart, and her mother cried for joy. “I was admitted to the hospital for breast surgery, but what I needed even more was heart surgery,” Daniela quipped. Over the next days I used every opportunity to encourage Daniela and the others, and to strengthen their budding faith. We talked a lot about the Lord, and read from the Bible. Before long our ward became known as the “happy room.” Daniela prayed that I would be able to be with her on the day of her operation, and the Lord answered that prayer. I was also able to be with about 10 others shortly before their operations. I gave them all some things to read, to comfort them and strengthen their faith. I also prayed with them and their families. The atmosphere in the emergency sur- gery ward was often tense, but it was also a golden opportunity to witness to and pray with others when they needed Jesus most. The Lord touched the hearts of some of the doctors, nurses, and staff, too. Shortly before I was dis- charged, I thanked one of the nurses for being such a soft-hearted person and really caring for others. After 24 days in that ward, I knew she was special. “I have prayed for Jesus to use me as a channel of His love,” she said, struggling to hold back the tears, “and now it’s wonderful that you tell me you can see that!” Daniela has also been released from the hospital, and phones me often. I continue to encourage her and other friends from the hospital in their new lives with the Lord and His love. ❑ Triumphs from Troubles The Lord engineers every situation,and He has a good purpose for everything—even our troubles.“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God”(Romans 8:28).So the next time you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t look so“good”to you,take another look.It could be that He has brought you to that place because there’s someone else there that He wants to show His love and good- ness to,through you.Get busy trying to help them,and the Lord will turn your“bad”to their good and bless you in the process! —David Brandt Berg activated issue 19 11
  12. 12. Answers to your questions Q: Some months ago,I suf- fered a personal loss that made me wish I were dead. I often still feel that way.I know it’s not right,but some- times I can’t help being angry with God for having let this happen to me.My friends don’t understand either.They sympathized at first,but then they started telling me to get on with my life.Lately they’ve been avoiding me.I’ve never felt so miserable or so alone. What can I do? I t sounds like you’ve been through a lot! Heartbreaks like the one you experienced aren’t easy to get over—especially if you try to do so on your own or turn only to earthly friends for sympathy and comfort. At times like this, it’s important to remember that Jesus understands what we’re going through, and that His is the best kind of sympathy— full of hope and solutions and an extra large measure of His unfailing love. But sad to say, when these situ- ations have been going on for some time, our own attitudes can some- times hinder the Lord from showing us all the love He would like to. Bit- terness is often the main culprit. “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you,” the Bible warns, “for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives” (Hebrews 12:15 TLB). Bitterness is a serious spiritual prob- lem, but the Lord has a solution that is both simple and sure: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble [and] I will deliver you” (Psalm 50:15). 12 activated issue 19
  13. 13. The best way to keep weeds out of your garden is to not let them get planted there in the first place; the best way to prevent bitterness from springing up in your life is to not let any critical or resentful thoughts take root in your mind and heart. But what if those negative thoughts are already there?—And what if they’ve been there long enough to take root? Your best hope is to call on Jesus, the Master Gar- dener, to help you rid your garden of those pernicious weeds. You can’t do it yourself, and even He can’t do it without your help and cooperation. The two of you must work together. You must first be willing to con- fess your own wrong attitudes in the matter, and truly want to be deliv- ered. Pride, self-righteousness, crit- icalness, resentment, vengefulness, spite—all of these are sins that not only lead to bitterness, but also keep you in that state. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but who- ever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Regardless of the circumstances that led to your bitterness, you must be willing to admit that the real prob- lem now lies with you. Then you must completely let go of those ill feelings toward the Lord or others. To let go, you must first forgive. To obtain mercy, you must be mer- ciful; you must stop holding other people’s mistakes and faults against them (Matthew 6:14–15). If that sounds humanly impossible, that’s because it is. You must ask Jesus to give you enough of His love to mercifully forgive those who have wronged you—and He will. “Love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Do those things, and you will also experience the Lord’s mercy. What then? How do you keep the weeds from invading your garden all over again? You plant flowers in their place and tend them diligently. Make a conscious effort to think only posi- tive, loving thoughts. Read, absorb, think about, and apply God’s Word to your daily life and interactions with others. His Word will put your life back on a positive course and keep it there. Start with Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Ask God to show you His good purpose in every situation, including those that led to your bit- terness, and He will. Happy garden- ing! ❑ Bitterness Kills Bitterness is very much like the South American vine known as el matador—“the killer.”Beginning at the foot of a tree,the vine slowly works its way to the top,and as it does,it kills the tree. Bitterness may appear harmless when it is small,but if it is allowed to grow,its tendrils of resentment,malice,and hatred will put a stranglehold on the heart and soul. activated issue 19 13
  14. 14. Parenting from the heart the bookmark I ’m sitting here staring at the side of my computer screen, where I’ve stuck up one of the cutest little bookmarks I’ve ever owned. It has a picture of a mother hugging a little child, and a quote from Charles Dickens at the bottom: “It is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” When I read that quote, it thrilled me through and through. I resolved to use that bookmark for my next reading project. Unfortunately, I failed to immediately tuck the dear little bookmark safely away, and so it lay, halfway to greatness, on my desk—at just at the right height for a very cute short person (my three-year-old daughter) to spot it and pick it up. This bookmark is one of those with three sides of a little square cut out near the top, so it can be hooked over the top of a page and stay in place. By the time I noticed that Kimberly had found it, she had pulled on and accidentally broken the top part off. I knew this was an innocent act, of course. She hadn’t meant to break it; she was just trying to figure the thing out. But because I had had such a special bonding experience with that bookmark, I was a bit distressed. I snatched the pieces from her, and put them aside. Later, after Kimberly was in bed, I picked up the two pieces of the bookmark and read the quote again. Suddenly the whole experience struck me in an entirely new light. Did this bookmark have to be perfect to be special? I could tape it back together and it would be as good as new—maybe even better than new because it would have something that it hadn’t had before: evidence of having been touched by those little hands that I love so dearly. Now that bookmark is twice as special to me, Scotch tape and all. ❑ —By Jasmine St. Clair Let us strive to see things that are as they should be; and as we live in an imperfect world, let us be content to glory in that imperfection, that each building block of the day’s events may rest upon another to form the final product of a life rich and full—not in the glassy beauty of perfection, but in the rich fullness of love. —J.S.C KIMBERLY, AGE 3 14 activated issue 19
  15. 15. peaceIN PLACE OF BITTERNESS From Jane, South Africa I ’ll never forget a man I met during one of our Sunday afternoon visits with patients at a local hospital. I was working my way through a ward of about 20 men, offering personal words of encouragement and Gospel posters, when I saw him in the back of the room. He was the only white man in the ward, and one of very few whites in this particular hospital. Bitterness streamed from his eyes. I braced myself, and struck up a conversation. Before long, I understood why he was so bitter. He had been born and raised during South Africa’s apart- heid era, and like many of his generation and social standing, he had become a racist. His animosity toward blacks was more than justified, he said. Two days earlier, on his way home from work, he had been mugged by two black men and stabbed in both arms in the ensuing scuffle. Shortly before I met him, a doctor had informed him that the knife had been rusty, and he now had such a serious case of blood poisoning that both of his arms might have to be amputated in order to save his life. Only the Lord’s Spirit and the healing balm of His love could ever free this man from such horrible bitter- ness, I thought. I knew that there was nothing I could say to ease his suffering and anguish, so I just prayed for him silently and listened as he continued to pour out his heart to me. Ever so slowly, a transformation began to take place. The Lord was answering my prayer! When he’d gotten everything out, I told him that Jesus could replace the hatred he felt with supernatural love and peace, and I asked him if he would like to pray with me to receive Jesus into his life. The hardened look on his face changed, after he prayed, to one of trust and acceptance. Jesus had given him the “peace of God, which surpasses all understand- ing” (Philippians 4:7). By the time I had to leave, he was a different man. Jesus had saved his soul and delivered him from the weight of bitterness and resentment. ❑ Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the doors of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. —E.C.McKenzie activated issue 19 15
  16. 16. Forgive and Forget My heart aches to see the heartache you have felt,for I feel the pain,the anger,the regret,the remorse,the feelings of being hurt and angered by the faults and mistakes and even the sins of others.I also know that it’s human nature to want to retaliate,to want revenge,and to fight against forgiving and burying your differences. To truly forgive and forget is one of the most difficult things for anyone. Only through Me can you be freed from these roots of bitterness that entangle your heart.I am love,I am forgiveness,and I’m here for you, waiting to lift this load of bitterness that you’ve been carrying around.Take it off and give it to Me.Just say,“Jesus,take this.I don’t want it any- more.”I will make it disappear forever.Together we will bury it in My love,so that you can once again feel the brightness and lightness of My love and the happy joy of My Spirit.I will make you whole again. —Jesus