change your life. change your world.

                            Vol 10 • Issue 8

          BEAUTIFUL YOU!
Browse our website or contact one of the
The pottery                                 spout. He knew which areas
     you!                                                                      By David Brandt Berg

If all t...
or their clothing, or their new nips and tucks or         can reach it, and they have plenty of money to
enhancements. You...
By Jessie Richards

A new leAse on
life                                                                              At...
I could appreciate others’ good qualities,
                                       thank God for the wonderful way He
                                       By Peter Story

                                         Just imagi...
T   hey say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
          so with this thought in mind I interviewed a few
         By Curtis Peter van Gorder

At a workshop I attended, art and drama therapist Em...

                                                                           A motivational speaker...
“Beauty                                marks
By Sherri Bixler               ...
We are beautiful
                                     because God
free plants rose and bloomed         made us            ...
HEAR                                                               FROM
HEAVEN                               A Spiritual E...

                                         That person in
                                         the mi...

You are part of a magnificent, vast, overall    and focus on what you think are you...
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Activated August 2009

  1. 1. change your life. change your world. Vol 10 • Issue 8 BEAUTIFUL YOU! Who decides your image? A New Lease on Life Self-image issues resolved Welcome to Parkville Transforming troubled teens
  2. 2. Browse our website or contact one of the distributors below to enjoy the inspirational, Vol 10, Issue 8 motivational, and practical help offered in our books and audiovisual material. Activated Ministries PO Box 462805 Escondido, CA 92046–2805 USA Toll-free: 1–877–862–3228 Email: personally speaking Activated Europe Bramingham Pk. Business Ctr. Enterprise Way Dressing my three preschool sons alike seemed sensible at the time. Luton, Beds. LU3 4BU It made clothes shopping easier, for one, and because they were United Kingdom brothers with similar builds and complexions, they looked good in +44 (0) 845 838 1384 Email: the same clothes. At home it gave a sense of order, however super- Activated Africa ficial, to a household with three little boys in perpetual motion, and P.O. Box 2150 in public it showcased what I was sure was the most adorable set of Westville 3630 kids ever. On a deeper level, it appealed to my sense of equity. I didn’t South Africa love one above the others, and had determined to never say or do +27 (83) 556 8213 anything that might cause them to think otherwise; I would treat Email: them impartially in all things, big and small. Activated India P.O. Box 5215 But as soon as they got old enough to make more of their own G.P.O. choices, coordinated clothes were out. As their individual needs Bangalore – 560 001 changed and became more diverse, I found I continually needed to India adapt and change how I gave each one my love and support. I still Email: didn’t love one more or less than the others, but I couldn’t always Activated Philippines treat them the same. P.O. Box 1147 Antipolo City P.O. Now that those boys are grown men, in many respects they could 1870 Antipolo City hardly be more different from one another. My early attempts to Philippines establish uniformity now seem pure folly, and I thank God for giving Cell: (0922) 8125326 each of them the sense to pursue his own interests, develop his own Email: skills, and become his own person. Each probably has some things Activated Australia +61 2 8011 4345 that he would like to change about himself—there’s always room for Email: improvement—but I love them dearly just as they are. That’s how God loves us. We compare ourselves unfavorably with Editor Keith Phillips others, or we fuss over something about ourselves that we don’t like, Design Giselle LeFavre but all the while He’s trying to tell us, “I love you the way you are. Production Jessie Richards If something needs to change, I’ll let you know and will help you fix © 2009 Aurora Production AG that, but otherwise just be your special self.” If we could all believe that, how happy we would be! All Rights Reserved Printed in Taiwan by Ji Yi Co., Ltd. Keith Phillips All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas For Activated Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. The pottery spout. He knew which areas needed to be solid and strong. exhibition No matter how inadequate I feel, and how many talents and qualities I lack, God knew what By Abi F. May I would need for the purpose He created me to fulfill, my destiny. To grumble about or belittle what The display cases at a pottery exhibition I visited recently He has given me is as ridiculous were filled with items, large and small, some functional and as the fruit bowl lamenting, “I’m some decorative, but all crafted with care. Practical coffee sets missing a spout,” or the vase and elegant vases, ordinary fruit bowls and intricate ornaments, complaining, “I’m too tall,” or the plaques and plates and figurines, mugs and jugs, jam jars and teapot moaning, “I’m just too fat.” soup tureens, teapots, coffeepots, and sugar bowls—each item And what about the plate? Would spoke of its creator’s passion and attention to detail. The art of he gripe, “Why am I so flat and fashioning clay into bricks, tiles, or porcelain objects is one of the plain?” No, each of these items is oldest known to the human race. designed to fulfill its function. Each item started off as a lump of clay, more or less. What I saw some beautiful examples made the difference? A pair of skillful hands, to be sure, but more of pottery at the exhibition, but than that: a purpose and a design. Will this item be a slender vase when I got home, I didn’t regret to display bouquets of flowers, or a set of dishes? Will the crafts- not owning any of them. I was man fashion a tiny pitcher to pour cream for coffee, or a large jar happy to pick up my old favorite for pickling vegetables? coffee mug, which faithfully God is a potter. We are the clay vessels of His design. He fulfills its purpose each day. fashioned each of us to be a unique vessel for a unique purpose. I have a feeling that’s how God He knew exactly where to place each part, each handle, and each sees us. He made us and equipped us for what He wants us to be and do in this life, and nothing pleases Him more than seeing us live up to that potential. Time for a refill. 2 Who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”1 Abi F. May is a member of the Family International. 1 Romans 9:20 1 3
  4. 4. Beautiful you! By David Brandt Berg If all the flowers in the world were one color, or if there was only one type of tree, it would get Always be a first-rate version of yourself boring after a while. Beauty is found in variety—the instead of a second-rate version of varying types and textures, hues and shades. I don’t someone else.—Judy Garland understand why people try so hard to all look alike. What’s the beauty in that? I look at these models someone else’s definition of beauty. When they do walking down the runway, and while many of them that, they’re giving someone else control over them, have symmetrical chiseled features‚ great skin, and over how they think, over their happiness. Who what the media and fashion industry promote as decides that one thing is better than another—hair “perfect” bodies, most of them look similar. They’re that’s dark or light, curly or straight; bodies that perfect examples of cookie-cutter beauty. are lean, muscular, or rounded; noses that are large I’m all for people taking good care of them- or small; lips that are thin or full? Would you give selves and their appearance. I think it glorifies someone else control over you like that? our Maker to dress neatly, be clean, stay fit, and When you try so hard to fit a certain mold of make an effort to look nice. I don’t believe in just beauty‚ whether it suits you or not or is realistic or “letting yourself go.” not, you’re giving up your uniqueness. What’s the What’s disturbing, though, is when people try to attraction of looking like everybody else? The first change the way God made them in order to meet thing you notice about some people is their hairstyle, 4
  5. 5. or their clothing, or their new nips and tucks or can reach it, and they have plenty of money to enhancements. You notice the “look” and whether change anything they want. And change they do, it fits the latest trend. In some cases, the look isn’t because the trends in what’s beautiful keep changing. attractive or flattering; it doesn’t match the person’s Even the rich can barely keep up. anatomy or personality. It’s human nature to want to be thought attrac- One of the many problems associated with com- tive, but true beauty is not only about physical paring yourself with others or trying to fit into the appearance. It’s also about inner beauty, that spark fashionable standard of beauty is that you’re never that sets a person apart from the millions of others going to be truly happy. You might feel a sense of who are dressing the same way, getting the same satisfaction that you changed something you didn’t haircut, and trying to achieve the same body—the like or kept up with the latest trend, but even if you interchangeable masses who desert their individuality do manage to achieve the level of beauty that you're in an attempt to keep up with the latest trend. hoping for, even if you finally become the most Save yourself a lot of time, trouble, and grief. popular person in your circle of acquaintances, how Clear your mind of everyone else’s perception of long do you think it’s going to last? You’ll eventually what is beautiful. Set aside everything you’ve thought run into somebody who’s higher up on the physical- or seen or been told, and ask God to show you what beauty ladder. What will you do then? specific qualities or features He gave you that make If it’s happiness you’re looking for‚ you’re not you unique. Enhance those, and you’ll bring out the going to find it like that. The constant need to meet best, most beautiful you. 1 the world’s standard of beauty leads to obsession— first the physical makeover, then the molding of your personality to fit the new you, then the struggle to keep the look or to keep up with the changing looks as each trend gives way to a new one. What kind of life is that? Do you think you’ll ever fit the world’s idea of perfect beauty? Not even worldly celebrities D OW N O N YO U R S E LF? Raise your self-esteem with these tried and proven tips.  Be positive! Focus on the attributes you have, rather than on those you lack.  Be willing to venture out and make changes.  Look outward. Don’t make yourself the focus of your life.  Learn from past mistakes, but move forward.  Don’t live your life according to the expectations of others.  Don’t measure yourself by other people.  Rest in God’s love, realizing that you are His unique creation and that He loves you just the way you are! 5
  6. 6. By Jessie Richards A new leAse on life At a particularly low point, I read some articles by Maria Fontaine about recognizing and “That’s not fair” must have been my three most-used words when overcoming negative thought growing up. It seemed that someone—or everyone—always had it patterns. These made a definite better than me. impression on me, as I started to By my early teens I had a well-developed measure-and-analyze realize why I was so discontent mindset, and I was particularly obsessed with comparing my looks, and began to want to do some- personality, and abilities with those of other girls my age. thing about it. Understanding the When I came into young adulthood and joined an office team, it was concept that I could change was all about measuring up at work. I was convinced that the only way I the seed of freedom. would ever be accepted or appreciated was if I made up for my relative The way she applied biblical lack of skill and experience by working harder than everyone else. I was principles started me reflecting always trying to gain points (whatever those were and whoever was giv- on my life from a very different ing them out), and I was always frustrated with my self-assessed score. angle—one of thankfulness to I didn’t like myself in general, and even the things that I liked some- God for all He had given me, what I wouldn’t give myself a passing grade for until I improved them a rather than complaint over what bit. I could always find something wrong. He hadn’t given me; one of grati- Then another big source of discontentment kicked in—feeling tude, rather than resentment. cheated and like a loser because nearly all of my friends, who were also I also asked Jesus to tell me in their early and mid-twenties, were married and had children, while what He thought of me, and then I still didn’t have so much as a serious boyfriend. I wasn’t sure whether I tried to look at things from that was God’s fault or my own, so I was upset at both of us. His perspective. Through this I could hardly stand to be around other people, because almost I learned to communicate with everyone made me feel inadequate in some way, but paradoxically I also Jesus more deeply than I had found a lot to disapprove of in everybody else. You would think that I before, and gradually I started to would have focused on their strong points, since I was always wishing change—first my mind, and then I were more like them, but that wasn’t the case. Not surprisingly, my my life. Through hearing from negative attitude toward others caused them to keep their distance, Him, I came to understand that which made me feel more unlikable and hopeless. It was a vicious cycle. I had been made the way I was 6
  7. 7. I could appreciate others’ good qualities, thank God for the wonderful way He made them, and enjoy our differences because that was what He wanted, change until there was a notable difference in my attitude toward life— that He really did love me, and but it happened. My perspective changed to the point that I can now that He wasn’t out to punish me say I’m truly content and don’t envy anyone. I consider that a miracle. for anything I’d done wrong. Now, nearly 10 years later, I’m happy to say that my inner makeover I also joined a small prayer was a lasting one. I know that some things are truly not my strong group, where we would explain points, and I accept that. As a result, I’m not constantly getting derailed our struggles and then pray for when I notice something about myself that isn’t ideal. one another. Those times of prayer Life continues to get better, and I continue to get happier. I’ve channeled the life-changing power learned that more good things come to a person who looks for the good of God into my life. They also put in life and the beauty in people. I also know that I have the power, me in a position to receive a lot of through Jesus, to keep making progress in areas that actually matter. encouragement and support from It’s amazing how we can learn and grow when we aren’t hampered by caring friends, which in itself went paralyzing I-can’t-itis, which is born of negativity and fear of failure. a long way toward my develop- ment of a healthier self-image. Jessie Richards is director of production for A ctivAted and Something else that helped me several other Family International publications. 1 gain both confidence and compas- sion was getting to better know some of the people whom I once envied, because I found that their lives weren’t as perfect as I had imagined. Things really do even out. I found that I could love more completely once my relationships with others weren’t hampered by envy. I could appreciate others’ good qualities, thank God for the wonderful way He made them, and enjoy our differences, realizing that they’re just that— differences. One wasn’t necessarily better than the other. It took some time to break old habits—nearly two years from the time I took my first steps toward 7
  8. 8. STUNTED GROWTH By Peter Story Just imagine a world full of people who truly believe that anything is possible When I was a kid, I saw often have I limited myself by my beyond the boundaries I’ve set for plenty of goldfish in the houses perception of my world? Worse myself? And what would happen of my friends, and I remember still, how many times have I put if I moved others from their small wondering why so many people others in a small bowl in my bowls into the ocean of limitless would want to keep such small, mind? How many times have I possibilities that Jesus offers? unexciting creatures as pets. written off someone as insignifi- Just imagine a world full of Then one day, when I was cant or unexciting? How many people with that perspective, about ten years old, I went on times have I failed to see others’ who truly believe that anything is a school field trip to a botanical potential to grow? possible and reach out to claim it. garden that had a pond stocked How much more could I Together we could do astounding with fish. One especially large, achieve if I forgot my perceived things. Together we could work brilliantly colored fish stood out limitations and dared to swim miracles. 1 to me. “What kind of fish is that one?” I asked our guide. C I R C U M S TA N C E S “That’s a goldfish,” she replied. By David Brandt Berg I was confused. “Aren’t goldfish supposed to be small?” I asked When you’re stuck in a situation that’s not to your liking, you’ll be with a note of 9-year-old sarcasm. amazed sometimes at what a little positiveness can do. It’s only “Not at all,” she replied. natural to see all the things that are wrong with the situation, or to “Goldfish will grow even larger remember all the times you had it better, or to look at those who than these. It really just depends currently seem to have it better, but you’re not going to be happy on the size of their environment.” that way. You will be happy, though, if you decide that you’re going I took in the information and to be thankful for what you have, rather than dwelling on what you determined to never again show don’t have. myself so ignorant about goldfish, When you look for the good in a situation and focus on that, the but it was years before I under- things that you don’t like about it fade into the background. The stood the broader lesson. circumstances may not have changed a bit, but if you change your How often have I been like attitude, it will be as if the circumstances have changed too, because a goldfish in a fishbowl? How your perception of them will be different. 1 8
  9. 9. T hey say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so with this thought in mind I interviewed a few people—male and female, younger and older, and from different backgrounds—to find out what they felt made a person attractive. Here are some of their answers: The beauty survey By Andrew Mateyak What I find most attractive in a mature, personable woman who Kindness, gentleness, woman is when she isn’t overly is a good conversationalist and positiveness, conviction, and a concerned about what others has a good sense of humor, to sense of humor are some of the think of her, when she just acts one who is happy to sit with me qualities that make a person naturally.—Raymund (29) and watch TV.—Steve (70) beautiful.—Armina (27) One way that I judge whether Good looks are part of it, but What makes a woman beautiful or not a woman is beautiful is if a girl is charming, funny, and to me is her spirit—the way she if she’s smiling and her eyes easy to relate to, then she’s reacts to people and situations are happy. If so, then she’s beautiful. Or if she’s humorous, around her.—Nathan (24) beautiful to me, even if she isn’t ready to do things unexpectedly, what most people would call adventurous, passionate, and My survey was simple as surveys glamorous or especially good caring, then she’s attractive to go, but the consensus was clear: looking.—Tim (20) me.—James (17) Those polled said that real beauty runs deeper than physical If somebody has a kind and They say that the eyes are the attributes, clothing, or cosmetics; concerned spirit, they’re beautiful window to the soul, and that’s it comes from the inside out. I no matter what their physical true. The first time I met my agree, and it seems that’s how features may be.—Melody (21) husband, it was his eyes that God looks at it too. “Man looks attracted me. He had beautiful at the outward appearance,” the My personal definition of a eyes that reached deep into my Bible tells us, “but the Lord looks beautiful woman has changed soul.—Joyce (46) at the heart.”1 over the years. It has gone from a ravishing young blonde, to a A woman’s voice is often the first Andrew Mateyak is a member indication of whether or not I will of the Family International 1 Samuel 16:7 1 find her attractive.—Jimmy (38) in the Philippines. 1 9
  10. 10. WELCOME TO PARKVILLE By Curtis Peter van Gorder At a workshop I attended, art and drama therapist Emily Nash community where people don’t shared an experience she had while working with traumatized children respect or trust one another, and adolescents at a residential treatment center in the U.S. The boys make fun of people they don’t who attended her class were often combative, prone to negative and like, and fight.” self-destructive behavior, and unable to trust adults or even one another. They nodded in agreement Almost all had histories of severe abuse and emotional neglect. as if to say, “At last someone is They routinely brought their negative attitudes into the classroom, as listening!” reflected in their foul speech and rough mannerisms. “What if,” Emily asked, “we Sitting in a circle in typical group counseling fashion, some of them were to create a community expressed their anger through statements like “I hate being here” or “I where you did feel respected, hate doing this!” a community in which your “Fine,” Emily would say, “but why?” She put the question to them needs were met, a community in one by one. which you felt safe? What would “There’s no respect!” that community be like? Let’s “These jerks laugh at me!” create it together!” “Nobody listens to me!” The boys’ imaginations shifted “Too many fights!” into gear. After listening to their reasons, Emily replied, “What I am hear- “Let’s call it Parkville!” some- ing is not that you hate this class exactly, but that you hate living in a one called out. Everyone agreed. 10
  11. 11. " WHO STILL WANTS IT? " A motivational speaker started Parkville developed into a six-month project. The class made a ban- off his seminar by holding up a ner that read: Welcome to Parkville—Where all your needs are met! They $20 bill. In the room of 200, he drew a map of the town, including points of interest that reflected what asked, “Who would like this $20 they wanted in their community. They elected and appointed people bill?” Hands started going up. to fill various roles in the town: mayor, superintendent of the school, He said, “I am going to give director of the arts center, owner and chef of the community café, man- this $20 to one of you, but first, ager of the video store, and many more. They created special events. let me do this.” He proceeded to They found solutions to Parkville’s problems in town hall meetings. crumple the bill. Parkville became a community that they all said they would love to live He then asked, “Who still in. Many expressive art projects were born from the creation of this wants it?” Still the hands were up imaginary idyllic town. in the air. The first step was to draw the young people out by asking questions “Well,” he replied, “what if I and listening carefully and respectfully to their answers, even though do this?” And he dropped it on they came across quite negative at first. The next step was to challenge the ground and started to grind them to make a difference by channeling their energy into constructive it into the floor with his shoe. He projects that interested them. Emily explains Parkville’s success: picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now who still wants it?” The project gave these young people an opportunity to experience Still the hands went into the air. living in a well-functioning community, many of them for the first “My friends, you have all time, even if only while they were together at the center. Their commu- learned a very valuable lesson. nity became one in which there was support, where they could express No matter what I did to the their needs and others would listen and respond, a community built on money, you still wanted it mutual respect and care, a community of possibility. because it did not decrease in In role-play they found that they could be effective citizens and had value. It was still worth $20. something to contribute. Self-imposed limitations were stretched, and “Many times in our lives, we new strengths and capacities were accessed. An adolescent who was are crumpled, dropped, and engaged in destructive behavior was transformed into a leader, a caring ground into the dirt by the father, a resource to the community. decisions we make and the circumstances that come our Various methods are being used today to reach youth through their way. We feel as though we are own interests, such as sports programs, art and drama therapy, and worthless. But no matter what community projects. Through these, young people can acquire lifelong has happened or what will skills and a positive self-image. When we help them identify goals and happen, you will never lose your find ways to overcome the obstacles they encounter along the way, we value in God’s eyes. To Him, help them realize their potential. dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless.” Curtis Peter van Gorder is a member of the Family —Author unknown International in the Middle East. Emily Nash is a licensed therapist with The ArtReach Foundation, an organization that trains teachers from regions affected by war and natural disaster in the use of creative and expressive arts therapy. 1 11
  12. 12. “Beauty marks removed” By Sherri Bixler I had never seen so many dark in my mind. My large eyes, “beauty marks” (who invented that strong nose, and ample mouth My heart skipped a beat at cruel term?) on anyone else, the fight for prominence on a face the sight of the beautiful sign— spots had made me feel singularly that is neither oval nor square, not beautiful in an aesthetic unattractive. Now I could put all thanks to an equally pronounced sense, but beautiful because of that in the past. forehead. My long arms and one magical phrase: FRECKLES Excitedly I neared the build- slender torso are paired oddly AND BEAUTY MARKS ing, trying not to breathe too fast with a thick-hipped lower half. I REMOVED. To my eager eyes, or seem too eager. When I read wavered. What would this crafter those words seemed written in the rest of the sign, however, I of human masterpieces think of silver and edged in gold, for they came to a near stop. The versatile imperfect me? held a promise of freedom from plastic surgery catered to those The thought of getting at least the thing I had always hated most unfortunate enough to have been a little closer to the ideal forced about myself. born with any of an assortment me up the polished cobalt-blue Things, actually—seven of them, of physical imperfections, yet stairs and into a space that was at dark enough to pass for careless fortunate enough to have the once delicate and prepossessing. spatters of ink by a Creator too financial means to correct them. In a waiting room softly lit in busy to notice His mistake. Since All my physical flaws flashed blue, a large number of blemish- 12
  13. 13. We are beautiful because God free plants rose and bloomed made us imperfect bodies do. When a without restraint. Of course, I divorce, accident, demotion, or thought. Here, even the plants are other unexpected crisis shatters perfect. our hope of an idyllic future, it I stammered a request to see given you”—his eyes pleaded, can be disheartening. But if we the doctor, gesturing awkwardly “Accept the way God made you.” can trust that we are beautiful in the general direction of my The weariness, I realized, was the because God made us, why not spots. The lovely spa attendant, result of years of nipping, tucking, also trust that our lives can be slim and perfect in cobalt blue, removing, lengthening, shorten- beautiful because He loves us? rushed away, and in less than ing, and straightening what God doesn’t pick picture- a minute the doctor himself God had created for those who perfect people to be His examples. emerged and whisked me into thought they knew better. “God has chosen the foolish his office. Ineloquently I man- Strangely, I felt hope rekindle. things of the world to put to aged to make him understand As I walked down the shining shame the wise, and God has that I needed the spots gone. cobalt stairs and into the street, chosen the weak things of the Could it be done? I wondered how many times world to put to shame the things When the good doctor put those eyes had pled with others, which are mighty; and the base on his magnifying glass to take a only to be rejected or go unno- things of the world and the closer look, his prognosis faded ticed. This time, thankfully, the things which are despised God from the initial confident, “Of believer in him had linked with has chosen, and the things which course, of course!” to a troubled the faith in me and helped me are not, to bring to nothing the gaze that lasted longer than it accept the unacceptable. things that are.”1 So lift up that should have. His conclusion: The I’m still not perfect, but now I chin and “boast in [your] infirmi- procedure was difficult, and a don’t have to be. For that I thank ties, that the power of Christ may good outcome impossible. The the tired, pleading gaze of an old rest upon [you].”2 He will make spots were there to stay! artist who thought I was beauti- your imperfect life beautiful, too, I felt my euphoria drain away ful enough the way God had if you let Him. like air from a punctured tire. made me. The doctor sat down. For Lives that turn out to be Sherri Bixler is a member of the first time, I looked at his less than perfect can cause us the Family International in eyes. Then, I looked into them, just as much anguish as our Mexico. 1 and what I saw surprised me. I saw regret, but not pity; weari- One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much ness, but not despair. As he attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the pronounced his sentence—“This shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of is what your parents’ genes have each of us as complex human beings.—Franklin Thomas 1 Corinthians 1:27–28 1 2 2 Corinthians 12:9 13
  14. 14. HEAR FROM HEAVEN A Spiritual Exercise The Bible’s book of 1 Kings includes the story message in words or pictures. Whatever comes to of the prophet Elijah. Chapter 19 recounts the your mind, write it down for future reference, and tumultuous episode when he was running for his then thank Him for speaking. life from wicked Queen Jezebel and hiding in the When you are first learning to tune in to His wilderness. After a while God led Elijah to go to voice you may mistake it for your own thoughts, Mount Horeb. There God told Elijah to leave the but with practice you will learn to distinguish cave where he had taken refuge and stand before between the two—especially when He tells you Him. A strong wind tore into the mountain and things you never would have thought of yourself. broke nearby rocks in pieces; then there was an The following messages were received from earthquake; then a fire; then a “still small voice.”1 Jesus in prayer, as described above. So is the From God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the Jesus with Love message on the back cover of each fire, but that still small voice was His. issue of Activated. You too can get alone with God to hear His 2 voice and thereby receive His words of love and encouragement, answers to your questions, and I know all the things that bother you about yourself. solutions to your problems. Here’s how: I know about the times that you compare yourself Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, to others and think negatively about yourself, when preferably for at least 15 minutes. Bring your Bible your weaknesses embarrass and discourage you. or some other inspirational reading, and a laptop I know about all these things, and I love you anyway. or a pen and something to write on. Begin by reading a short passage or two to When the storms of life blow around you, rest your boost your faith. Then think about a matter that head upon My shoulder and see how I will care for you would like God to speak to you about—a you. problem or concern or even something that you’re curious about. Sit quietly and listen to what He How do I love you?—I love you unconditionally. tells you. Perhaps He’ll remind you of something I love you completely. I love you eternally. I love you you have read in His Word. Perhaps He’ll remind like a father loves his child. I love you like a husband you of something you have seen or something loves his wife. I love you tenderly. I love you per- someone has said. Or perhaps He’ll give you a fectly. 1 1 Kings 19:3–12 1 14
  15. 15. POINTS TO PONDER That person in the mirror Each person is a V.S.P. (Very Do not wish to be anything but Special Person) because we are what you are, and try to be that FEEDING READING each created in the image of perfectly.—Saint Francis DeSales Beauty God.—Desmond Tutu Building self-esteem often has a Physical beauty is short lived. Friendship with oneself is all lot to do with your relationship Psalm 103:15–16 important, because without with the Lord. If you’re close to Jeremiah 4:30b it one cannot be friends with the Lord, you’re handsome or 1 John 2:15–17 anyone else in the world.— beautiful because His love and Eleanor Roosevelt light shine through.—David Real beauty is on the inside. Brandt Berg 1 Samuel 16:7b If God had wanted me otherwise, Psalm 45:13a He would have created me When people compliment 1 Peter 3:3–4 otherwise.—Johann Wolfgang you, pay attention! Repeat the von Goethe compliment to yourself. Don’t The closer we live to the Lord, the downplay or dismiss it. Why more beautiful we become. We are not to think more highly should your own negative voice Exodus 34:29 of ourselves than we ought.1 be louder than the positive voice Ecclesiastes 8:1b But as children of God, 2 we are of a friend?—Carole M. Wallace 2 Corinthians 3:18 also not to think more lowly of ourselves than we ought.—Carl Christianity tells us we ought Brecheen and Paul Faulkner, What to love ourselves because God Heavenly happiness here and Every Family Needs loves us. We are not centers of now and for all eternity is just a wholeness and goodness all by short prayer away. If you haven’t Search God’s Word and find out ourselves. We are of infinite worth yet received Jesus as your Savior, how He feels about you. That’s because we are the apple of God’s you can right now by sincerely the true basis of all self-worth. eye.—William Kirk Kilpatrick praying the following: If a perfect God can love and accept you with full knowledge Each of us is unique in God’s Dear Jesus, I want to know You. of all your imperfections, then eyes. Each of us is an individual, Thank You for giving Your life the message to you is “Lighten and He wants us to express our for me. Please forgive me for the up on yourself!”—Bob Gass individuality. He’s not trying to wrongs I have done. I open the door press us all into one mold, so that of my heart and I ask You to come we all look the same and act the in. Give me Your gift of eternal life, 1 Romans 12:3 same, and do things exactly the and fill me with Your love. Amen. 2 Genesis 1:27 same way.—Maria Fontaine 15
  16. 16. FROM JESUS WITH LOVE you’re special! You are part of a magnificent, vast, overall and focus on what you think are your plan. You can’t see that plan, but I can. You shortcomings—weaknesses and inabilities, can’t see how beautifully you fit in with the a less-than-perfect body or personality or overall panorama of life and the balance of whatever. What you perceive as imperfec- the universe, but I can. Someday you will tions, I perceive as uniqueness. What is see it too, and you will marvel together with perfection, after all? It is fulfilling the Me at how wonderfully it all came together purpose for which you were created, which and how perfect it all is. is to love and be loved. I love you just the way you are, and I love you as though you You are unique. There has never been a were the only person in the world. person like you, nor will there ever be another just like you. That’s one of the Come and let Me show you how much things I like most about you. Resist the I love you and how special you are to Me. temptation to look negatively at yourself