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Activated magazine: You Can Change

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Activated magazine: You Can Change

  1. 1. DO YOU FEED YOUR BODY BUT STARVE YOUR SOUL? YOU CAN CHANGE FROM CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY. THAT CHANGE YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE IS POSSIBLE. FALLING UPWARD WHY HARDSHIP IS CRUCIAL TO PROGRESS. TAKE TIME TO LAUGH AND LOVE HOW WILL YOUR CHILDREN REMEMBER YOU?
  2. 2. 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 www.auroraproduction.com. Activated Ministries P.O. Box 462805 Escondido, CA 92046-2805 USA activatedUSA@activated.org (1–877) 862–3228 (toll-free) Activated Africa/Europe Bramingham Pk. Business Ctr. Enterprise Way Bramingham Park Luton, Beds. LU3 4BU England activatedEurope@activated.org (07801) 442–317 Activated India P.O. Box 5215 G.P.O. Bangalore – 560 001 India activatedIndia@activated.org VISIT US AT www.activated.org EDITOR Keith Phillips DESIGN Giselle LeFavre PRODUCTION Francisco Lopez Issue 16 © 2000 Aurora Production, Ltd. All Rights Reserved Unless indicated otherwise, all Scripture quotations in Activated are from the New King James Version of the Bible © 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc. There’s probably not a person on this planet who is completely satisfied with the way they are. Everyone is either “too fat” or “too skinny,” “too short” or “too tall,” “too aver- age,” “too different,” or too something. And what about those bad habits, weaknesses, and personality quirks that seem to stand in the way of our happiness, success, and successful relations with others? In time, most of us realize that one of the keys to happi- ness is learning to accept certain things about ourselves that we can’t change or that don’t really matter, and to major on the things that we can change and that do matter. Someone wisely summed that up in what has come to be known as the Serenity Prayer: “Lord, give us serenity to accept what cannot be changed, courage to change what should be changed, and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” If we ask Him, God will not only give us serenity, cour- age, and wisdom, He will also help bring about the positive changes we desire in ourselves. The Bible is full of promises about that: “If you abide in Me [Jesus], and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). “No good thing will He [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). “With God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37). But what then? What’s our part? Just how do we go about the business of letting God change us? How much help does He need or expect from us? It’s our hope that this issue of Activated will help answer those questions and lead to a happier, “new and improved” you. Keith Phillips For the Activated family ctivated issue 16
  3. 3. I t all started when a man in Romania with whom I’ve been corresponding, 70-year-old Ilie, visited his son in prison. Each time I write Ilie, I enclose some Christian literature, so during the visit Ilie gave his son one of the posters I had sent him. His son later gave that poster to a fellow inmate, Ovidiu, who also began corresponding with me regularly. With a little encouragement, Ovidiu started to tell other inmates about Jesus’ love, forgiveness, and power to change hearts and lives. Over the next year, Ovidiu won more inmates to the Lord. As some of those inmates were transferred to other prisons, more inmates were won to the Lord in those prisons. Now 12 inmates in five prisons actively share the Good News with their fellow inmates, and every month their numbers grow and more prisoners get saved. Several of them have written to say that whenever they receive a letter from me, it’s like a holiday for them and the others in their little prison fellowships. Here are a few translated excerpts from recent letters I received from some of them. in Romanian prisons By Carl,Hungary ctivated issue 16 3
  4. 4. Twenty-six-year-old Ovidiu is serving a nine- year sentence. He writes: “I can’t believe how many things have changed since I started writing you. I’m not talking only about the hap- piness you brought to my life by helping me to know my Savior, Jesus; I’m also talking about the many friends I have today, due to your love and His love. “In the beginning it was tough. I was alone and I felt forgotten on this planet. But you wrote to me about love, you showed me your love in kind deeds, and you encouraged me to love others and tell them about Jesus’ love. Today I’m a happy and fulfilled man. Because I listened to you and did what you told me, I’ve gained many new friends in Jesus. “All of us who write to you love each other and help each other to make it through the darkest times. Albert is just one of them. If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have made as much progress in explain- ing God’s love to the other inmates. Albert talks to others about God’s love with such ease, and they respect him for it.” Albert is 35 years old and is serving a 22-year sen- tence for homicide. Prisoners convicted of premeditated homicide are allowed to write only one letter a year. If they want to write more, they must make deals with other inmates to send their letters for them. When Albert first wanted to write me, he had already used his one letter for the year to write his mother, so he gave another inmate his lunches for a month in exchange for being able to write one letter in the other man’s name. In Albert’s fourth letter he wrote: “I don’t know how I can thank you. I have no words to express what’s going on in my heart. Until I received your second letter, I didn’t know what it meant to be loved or love anyone. For 35 years I thought love only existed in people’s imaginations. “At last I found what I was looking for. In fact, I didn’t even know I was looking for it, but I found it. What I needed was someone to love and be loved by, and you brought that Person—Jesus—into my life. Before I received your letter, I didn’t think about anything except how I could get out of prison sooner. Now all I want is to be able to show love to those who need it, and Jesus has given me the opportunity to do that. Every- one in here is starving for a kind word and a little bit of love from a sincere heart. I’m so glad that I have this chance to love others, and in return to be loved with God’s love through them. “Now it doesn’t matter to me so much that I’m locked up here. I no longer scratch a line on the wall of my cell for every day that passes. I’m happy! Thank you so, so, so much! I thank Jesus from the bottom of my heart for His love for me. I want the whole world to know that I, a mur- derer, found happiness and love and forgiveness through Jesus. As long as I live, I’ll tell others about Jesus’ love!” 4 ctivated issue 16
  5. 5. Viorel, 29, is Albert’s brother. Albert was recently transferred to the same prison where Viorel is serving a 14-year sentence. (Prisoners convicted of homi- cide are moved often to discourage escape attempts.) Albert told Viorel about us. In his first letter Viorel wrote: “I don’t know how it was poss- ible for Albert to change the way he did, but he is a new man. If a man like him could undergo such a change, and if God can indeed love a person with a past like his, that means there’s hope for me! All of a sudden life can take a meaningful turn. Please write to me in detail about the beautiful things Albert men- tioned to me. I didn’t want to admit it in front of my brother, but I need God’s love. I’m lost without it. Please, help me become the happy and serene man my brother is today.” Petrisor, 37 years old and a con- victed murderer, wrote in his first letter: “Is it true what Albert told me about God’s love? Is it true that you also love us, even though we’re murderers? Is it true that we can receive God’s for- giveness? Please, write me about these things. I’m all alone in this world and I’ve done so much wrong that I don’t even have hope for the afterlife. But Albert talks about Jesus with so much feeling, just like He is his best friend who sent him to talk to me. Please send me to read what you sent Albert. I want to know Jesus the way he does.” Vasile, 30 years old, is serving a 14-year sentence for murder. In his second letter he explained: “I never thought that I could be for- given for the terrible thing I did. My friend Albert let me read the letters you sent him. I couldn’t help but cry. I have never been really happy in my entire life, much less cried from happiness, but what else could I have done when Jesus took over my heart? Albert did everything he could to help me get to the point of praying for my sal- vation. I never thought that I could experience such joy as I do now. “Your letters make things so simple and easy for us to under- stand. This month I’m going to write my family. They too need to find out about the great change that took place in my life, and they too need to receive Jesus. “Now I’m truly happy. Peace took me over! It was so simple, and Jesus changed me so fast. Now I’m disgusted with the life I lived before, because I lived it without Him. I’ll never let go of Him again. Please, write me as often as you can. I want to know everything there is to know about Jesus and His teachings, so that I can tell others and they can know His love too.” There is no one too bad or too insignifi- cant for God to love and care for. God will do anything for you if you simply give Him a chance. ctivated issue 16 5
  6. 6. that it’s a small thing for Me to transform a single life into something new, some- thing even better? You’ve seen the course of nature, how a caterpillar envelops itself in a cocoon and then comes out as a daz- zling butterfly—totally differ- ent, totally beautiful, totally changed, a completely differ- ent creature. But then you think about yourself, and since you’ve never seen such a drastic change in your life, you wonder if such a change is really possible. Just imagine the first cat- erpillar in the Garden of Eden, and how sad it must have been at the thought that it was destined to remain an ugly earthbound creature all its life. If you had told that caterpillar that it would spin a cocoon and go into a deep sleep, only to emerge trans- formed into a beautiful flying A MESSAGE TO YOU FROM JESUS creature with colored, pat- terned wings, do you think it would have believed you? I instructed that caterpil- lar to spin a cocoon, and it did. As it did its part, I did the miracle and transformed it. And from that day until this, it’s been natural and normal for caterpillars to turn into butterflies. So if I could per- form that miracle, that trans- formation, for one of the least of My creatures, doesn’t it seem logical that I could do the same for you? It all begins with a spark of faith. I can speak to your heart and put that spark there—a spark of faith that tells you that I can and want to help you change. But for Me to continue to work in your life and bring these changes to fruition, you must give Me your full coopera- tion. You must have not only a believing heart, but also a A nybody can change, because I can change anybody who wants to be changed and comes to Me. In fact, you can be anything that you want to be—as happy as you want, as fulfilled as you want, as challenged as you want, as content as you want, as posi- tive as you want—because all these things are within My power to give! The changes that you desire in your life are poss- ible. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been like or how long you’ve been that way. It doesn’t even matter if some- thing you’re trying to change is a part of your personality, your inborn nature, or some- thing you feel is unchange- able. Even if you don’t think you can change, you can because I can change you. If I made the world and every- thing in it, don’t you see 6 ctivated issue 16
  7. 7. Seven Keys to Spiritual Growth Dependence on the Lord Psalm 138:8 John 3:27 John 15:5 Ephesians 2:8–9 Philippians 4:13 James 1:17 Desire to grow Psalm 107:9 Psalm 145:18–19 Proverbs 2:1–5 Matthew 5:6 Luke 11:9 Prayer Jeremiah 33:3 Matthew 7:7–8 Matthew 21:22 John 15:7 John 16:24 Philippians 4:6 Commitment Matthew 4:10 1 Corinthians 9:24–27 Philippians 3:13–14 Hebrews 12:1 2 Timothy 2:4–5 God’s Word Joshua 1:8 Psalm 119:9 Psalm 119:11 Psalm 119:98–100 Jeremiah 15:16 John 8:31–32 1 Peter 2:2 2 Peter 1:2–4 Application Psalm 119:59–60 Job 17:9 Matthew 7:24–25 Philippians 2:12 1 Timothy 4:15–16 Hebrews 2:1 James 1:22–25 Patience Proverbs 4:18 Luke 8:15 Romans 2:6–7 Philippians 1:6 Hebrews 10:36 Hebrews 12:1 James 1:3–4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 feeding reading yielded heart. Like the cater- pillar, you have to come to Me and receive My instruc- tion, and then you have to be willing to do the things I ask of you. Only then will I be able to bring about all the changes you desire—and even then they won’t all happen overnight. Certain aspects of this mir- acle can happen in an instant, the moment you believe and ask Me and yield. Others will take time, but as you continue to look to Me and do as I say, you will change. That I can promise! So you see, everything is possible! It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been the way you are or how bad you think you are. It doesn’t matter what you think about yourself, because I am able. All things are possible with Me if you believe. ctivated issue 16 7
  8. 8. Can I stay with you to- night?” Carlos asked in a trembling voice. He had had a terrible argument with his wife, he explained over the phone, and he couldn’t return home. We also knew that he had already been going through a very difficult time in his life. To begin with, he had hoped to be promoted to general manager in his com- pany, but the job had been given to someone else. Then a few days later, he had had a serious car accident, though fortunately no one was injured. Now this! Everything seemed to be going wrong. I invited him over, and before he arrived, my wife and I prayed together for the Lord to help us encourage him, as well as for wisdom in how to advise him in this per- sonal situation, if he should ask for that. When he arrived, we could see that he felt truly hopeless. He had had a second car accident the night before, it turned out, and this time the car had been totally demolished. Now his wife was really upset. When he had gotten it all out, we asked him why he thought all these things were happening to him. At first, all he could do was complain about his wife and how she was always nagging him about his drinking. “She keeps after me about it. I think she just doesn’t want me to have a good time!” he said. He clearly couldn’t accept her attitude about his drinking. After a while of that, we suggested that the best thing he could do was to stop blaming her or anybody else for his problems. We also explained that a lot of his troubles seemed to stem By Samuel Cordon from the fact that he wasn’t reading the Bible as much as he used to or trying to stay close to the Lord like he used to, so the Lord had probably withdrawn His pro- tection from him and he was feeling the consequences. “God doesn’t send us troubles to see us suffer,” I told Carlos. “But He does allow them sometimes because He knows that often that’s the only time we will sincerely pray, when we are in trouble. Sometimes He has to send trouble so we’ll change. Then when bad things happen, we begin to pray, we read His Word, and we start to do what His Word says. As soon as we get back on track, doing our best to love Him and others and obey His loving laws, He can bless us and take care of “The best thing you could probably do is return home ... and tell her you love her.” “ 8 ctivated issue 16
  9. 9. us—just like a parent some- times allows his child to suffer the consequences of his actions in order to teach him a lesson and to help him grow in character. “It’s not that He expects us to be perfect,” I continued, “but our motive is what counts—whether or not we are sincerely trying to do what’s best. When we are, then He’ll do His best to take care of us and protect us and make us happy. But some- times He just has to allow bad times to make us stop and listen to Him.” Carlos’ drinking seemed to be the main reason his wife was so upset with him, and it was about to cost him his marriage, so I told Carlos how the Lord had delivered me from dependence on alcohol, and that he could also be delivered. Carlos’s situation reminded me of the story of Esau in the Bible, when Esau had been so hungry and so shortsighted that he traded his entire inheritance for a bowl of his brother Jacob’s stew (Genesis 25:29–34). I related that story to Carlos, and explained how I thought it applied. It was like Carlos was exchanging his happy married life for a glass of whisky. “By running away from the situation,” I said, “you could be destroying your marriage. The best thing you could probably do is return home, apologize to your wife, and tell her you love her.” At that, Carlos burst into tears and told us that nobody had ever talked to him that way before, but that he thought I was right. As we talked more, he became determined to change and make a new start, and to try to make up for the harm he had caused. We read some appro- priate verses from the Bible, Recreated C A R L O S and my wife and I prayed with him for God to help him stop drinking and to bring about a real and lasting change in his life. A few days later when we visited Carlos at his office, he was beaming! He gave us each a big hug and said, “God has changed me! I can’t thank Him and you enough for helping me get straightened out!” He went on to tell us how everything had im- proved in his relationship with his wife, and how happy they were now. We’re so thankful for the change God brought in Carlos’ life. He never fails when we pray! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). ctivated issue 16 9
  10. 10. My three youngest girls were so excited. We had planned a beach outing for a week, and the day had finally come. Then at the last minute I asked a friend to go in my place because I had so much housework to do. At least this will be a great chance to do all those things I haven’t been able to get to, I thought as I gathered play clothes to wash, my sewing kit, and mend- ing. A few minutes later, from the window, I saw the kids’ ride come, then drive away with those excited, happy kids. They waved at me and called out, “Bye, Mommy! Have fun today!” Fun?! If they only knew all my plans for the day, I thought. Well, I guess a little “me time” today won’t hurt while they’re out. It’s odd, though, how I usually end up doing much less than I had hoped to when I skip out on playtime and replace it with projects, errands, and clean- ing. But that’s motherhood too, isn’t it? I sat there and kept thinking of sandcastles and laughing children—the youngest one run- ning along the shoreline, and the older ones jumping over small waves as they rolled in. How they all love splashing and falling into the water! I prayed for their safekeeping and that they’d really enjoy themselves. They hadn’t been gone an hour yet, and I already missed them and was looking forward to the stories they would have when they got back. Then I stopped and prayed a little prayer: “Jesus, You have blessed me with such beautiful, happy children. Your Word says that children are a parent’s reward* , and You couldn’t have given me a better one! Thank You for these precious kids!” [* Psalm 127:3] • I greeted the girls at the car when my friend dropped them off. “Thanks so much for taking them,” I said. “I just had so much to do at home. …” “They said you really enjoy the beach, too,” my friend began. “But Mom’s too busy to have fun,” my youngest interrupted. • Take Time to Laugh and Love By Sara Kelley,Family missionary and mother of five,now in East Africa Parenting FROM THE Heart From the editor: Welcome to“Parenting from the Heart,”a new Activated exclusive featuring tips,lessons,and heart-warming stories on parenting and the care of the beautiful children God has blessed us with. 10 ctivated issue 16
  11. 11. Then it was bath time. The three girls piled into the tub together, and I went about my usual routine—get out their clean clothes, drop the sandy ones in the laundry basket, pick up the stuff they’d left on the floor. All the while those words kept ring- ing in my mind. Mom’s too busy to have fun. “We made the best sandcastle today—ever!” Kimberly announced. “You should have seen it, Mommy. You would have taken a picture!” What am I doing? I asked myself. Every day my kids experience life to the full, just as God intends, with all its lessons and adventures, and best of all just plain fun. What part do I play in that? How will they remember me most when they look back at their childhood? Where am I in the “fun”? I grabbed a can of shaving cream from the bath- room counter. “How’s this for a really nice castle?” I asked as my foam art creation rose to an impressive height on the bathtub rim. You should have seen their big eyes widen! “Mommy’s making a mess!” Darlene whispered to her surprised sisters. Next we all took turns spraying tall white wigs onto our hair, writing our names extra fancy on the tiled wall, and forming long poofy shaving cream beards, like Santa. White sudsy foam was every- where. All the while, we passed around a camera and took turns taking photos that we’ll enjoy for- ever. Fun?! We laughed together till our sides ached. • Dinner was a bit late that night, and as usual, I didn’t get to all the projects and errands I had planned that busy day. I dislike that word “busy” now, because I’ve been so guilty of it. Sure those things need to get done, but my kids need a fun and loving mother a lot more than they need their room to be spotless, their laundry folded just so, and their play clothes mended. My children feel my love in the time I spend with them more than in what I do for them. There will always be work to be done, but I realize now how much kids both need and appre- ciate those unexpected surprises—a good laugh or a happy, fun time together—and so do I! ctivated issue 16 11
  12. 12. Life is one big learning experience, and for those who know and love Jesus, He is our Teacher. More than anything else, He wants to teach each of us all we need to know about Him, His love and salvation, and how we can be of greatest service to Him and others. God knows that none of us can accomplish any real good if we depend on our own sup- posed strength and wisdom. In fact, Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). But the Bible also says that we “can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13). That’s the key right there! We need to learn to yield to the Lord so He can do those good things through us! Of course, learning to be more dependent on the Lord is not something that we can learn overnight. It takes time and experience, and often that involves some difficulties and seeming defeats. The list is almost endless of people in the Bible whom God had to humble and bring down to the depths before He could use them. They needed to learn that it wasn’t in them, and to give God the credit for any- thing good they accomplished. Look at Joseph: Of Jacob’s 12 sons, he was his father’s favorite. His older brothers finally became so jealous of him that they nearly killed him, threw him into a pit, and then sold him into slavery. But that’s what the Lord used to humble him. Joseph had to be made a slave and later be con- demned as a criminal before God could exalt him to the second most powerful man in Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg Egypt and use him to save His people from famine (Genesis chapters 37, 39–41). And look at Moses: For 40 years he was groomed as a prince in the very courts of Pharaoh. The Bible says he was “educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22, NIV), but God couldn’t yet use him to lead His people to freedom, for he was too full of the ways of the world. Moses had to be humbled first, so God allowed him to become a fugitive from Pharaoh and spend 40 years in the wilderness doing nothing but tending sheep, before he was finally ready for God to use him for the task He had designed him for (Exodus chapters 2–3). And consider King David, the greatest king that Israel falling upward 12 ctivated issue 16
  13. 13. ever had: When he fell in love with Bathsheba, purposely had her husband killed in battle, and then tried to lie and cover up the entire crime, God had to completely expose him, humble him, and severely judge him. And later his own traitorous son, Absalom, drove David from the throne for a time (2 Samuel chapters 11–12, 15). Was David’s fall really a fall downward? Or was it a fall upward? God’s way up is sometimes down— usually, in fact. —Just the opposite of what we think! David was humbled, and the whole kingdom was humbled, and they were all reminded that it was only the Lord who made them great. From that squeezing and twisting of David’s life came forth the sweet honey of the Psalms, and the fragrance of his praises to the Lord for His mercy. Or consider the great apostle Paul: He was an up- and-coming Jewish activist, then named Saul, who had taken it upon himself to put an end to the fast-growing sect of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. As he journeyed by horseback to Damascus, where he intended to capture, imprison, and execute as many Christians as he could find, God had to knock him off of his horse and blind him with the brilliant light of His presence. Trembling, helpless, and blind, Saul had to be led by the hand into the city, and was so astonished by what had happened to him that he was unable to eat or drink for three days. A disciple of the Lord then came and prayed for Saul, and Saul regained his sight, was converted, and became the apostle Paul. God had to break him and make him a new man before He was able to use him to help many (Acts chapter 9). So even if you don’t always understand why you’re going through tests, trials, hardships, and breakings, remember that God has a purpose and He knows what He’s doing! God gets some of His greatest victories out of seeming defeats—victories of yielded- ness, brokenness, humility, and utter dependence on Him. So take heart from these examples from the Bible, and don’t be discouraged when everything seems to go wrong and your hopes are disap- pointed. Everyone who has ever been of any real use to the Lord had to first be broken, humbled, and brought virtu- ally to the end of themselves. Otherwise, they would have been too proud and self-con- fident in their own fleshly tal- ents and natural abilities, and would have taken the glory to themselves. This is why God chooses to use weak and fool- ish things: so no one can boast in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:25–29). God does not always see things as we see them, for His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not ours (Isaiah 55:8–9). He doesn’t judge or reward us according to our success or failure, but according to our motives and faithfulness. In Heaven one day, He’ll say to those who are true to Him, “Well done, My good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). He won’t say “My successful servant,” but “My faithful servant.” So above all, stay faithful to Jesus! And remember, your seeming defeats can become great victories for the Lord if you will humble yourself and learn the lessons He is trying to teach you through them, like these men in the Bible did. “Now all these things happened to them as exam- ples, and they were written for our admonition” (1 Corinthi- ans 10:11). ctivated issue 16 13
  14. 14. ONE MORNING, A MECHANIC who has worked on our van from time to time, knocked on our door in Korat, Thailand. He was very sad and very mad at the same time. He said that his wife had left him for another man a couple of days earlier. Now she wanted the house and this and that. The man had been drinking heav- ily for the past few days, and he didn’t know what to do or By George Dunbar we advised him. “Don’t try to take judgment into your own hands. Leave that to God. He knows what’s best for every- one concerned.” It took a while, but he finally calmed down. Before he left, he prayed with us to receive Jesus, and we prayed together for the Lord’s solu- tion to his problem. Some time later he came to us again for advice. His wife had come back, and had asked him to forgive her and give her another chance. All of his friends told him not to take her back. What should he do? We told him that the deci- sion was his, of course, but that the Lord always forgives us for our mistakes and sins, and then He gives us another chance to do things right. Our mechanic, by now a dear friend, was very happy to hear that, as he really loved his wife and already knew in his heart that that was the right thing to do. “Jesus and you have changed my life!” he exclaimed as he left. Isn’t it wonderful how He does that? who to talk with. He had a gun in his car, and said he wanted to go and kill his wife and her boyfriend, then kill himself. He didn’t really understand what had brought him to our gate; he had just been driving around aimlessly, then sud- denly he found himself at our house. The Lord had brought him to us, of course. My wife and I tried to calm him down and help him to see that killing anyone wasn’t the answer. “As impossible as this must seem right now, it would be better to just let her go,” 14 ctivated issue 16
  15. 15. QI feel like my life has been ruined because of the deep hurt that someone caused me.What can I do to get over the pain,hurt,and resentment I feel? Someone has said, “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the hand- cuffs of hate. It is the power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfish- ness.” If you want to get rid of your resentment and bitterness, the first step is to forgive—and to truly forgive someone, you have to let go of whatever it is you are harboring in your heart against that person. That may be hard to do, but you can’t say you forgive, but can never forget. If you continue to blame the other person, you become responsible for your own unhappiness. But once you are willing to lay it aside, Jesus can help you move on. No matter what problems your bitterness or resentment may stem from, God’s love can be like a balm that heals the hurt. Even if you don’t understand exactly what the problem is between you and the other person, God’s love is the answer! Ask Him for His love in your heart toward that person, and it will give you a new start. answers to your questions Prayer for the Day Forgiveness is the key, but love is the hand that turns it. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).It will also give you the grace and power to let things pass,to forgive others as Jesus has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). If you’ll just forget yourself and think more about others,if you’ll really try to help and pray for and love them,you’ll find that will solve almost all of your problems.If you get your mind off yourself and on others,you’ll find that this is what will bring you true happiness.Get your mind on Jesus,first of all,and then He’ll help you get it on your neighbor and love him as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40). —DAVID BRANDT BERG Thank You, Lord, for Your mercies! No matter what I’ve done, You have enough mercy to forgive me. Your mercy is greater than my faults. You never turn Your back on me, but rather take me in Your arms and wipe away my tears and comfort me. You always understand, Jesus. And when I feel I’ve failed You and others, You hold me all the closer. You tell me that it’s going to be okay, that I am forgiven and You’ll help me do better if I’ll just try again. Thank You for loving me just as much when I fail as when I succeed. It’s wonderful to know that I can always come to You for the love and forgiveness and the help I need! ctivated issue 16 15
  16. 16. . Do you think you can pour love out of yourself? If you try, you will soon find that your own love falls short. True, unfailing, self-sacrificial love does not come from yourself, by your own power or through your own efforts or habits, or your own knowing how to love. But as you fill up on Me and My love, you will have this kind of love—and more than enough. This love will then pour out on everyone you meet. First, you must let Me fill you up. A vessel that is moving or stopped up cannot be filled. You must be an empty vessel with an open mouth, and hold still and wait for Me to fill you up. Spend time with Me, and I will teach you to love. Then My face will shine on your face, and those who see you will know that this love does not come from you, but from Me. From Jesus with Love BE A VESSEL OF MY LOVE

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