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c ti v te CHANGE YOUR LIF E | CHANGE YOUR WORLD

THE MIRROR
Friend or foe to happiness?

DOWN WITH
DISCOURAGEMENT!
How to fight it—and win!

TRIBULATION
TRIUMPHS
God promises power for the hour
c ti v te
P E R S O N A L LY S P E A K I N G
For a wide range of books and
audio and video productions to In a story from Native American
feed your soul, contact one of our folklore, a grandfather explains to his
distributors below, or visit our young grandson the inner struggle
Web site at www.activated.org between good and evil.
Activated Ministries “A battle goes on inside us all,” the
P.O. Box 462805 grandfather begins. “It is a battle
Escondido, CA 92046–2805 between two wolves. One wolf is the embodiment of everything
USA evil, like hate, anger, jealousy, resentment, greed, arrogance,
info@activatedministries.org lying, and selfishness. The other wolf is the embodiment of
(877) 862–3228 everything good, like love, joy, peace, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, empathy, generosity, compassion, truth, and faith.”
Activated Europe The grandson thinks about those words and then asks,
Bramingham Pk. Business Ctr. “Which wolf wins?”
Enterprise Way The grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”
Luton, Beds. LU3 4BU Apply that lesson to the main themes of this issue—
United Kingdom discouragement and depression and their antitheses,
activatedEurope@activated.org positiveness and praise—and you’ve got the key to a happier,
+44 (0) 845 838 1384 more upbeat, and more successful you.
Activated Africa Discouragement is like a wolf pup. Feed it, and it will grow into
P.O. Box 2150 depression—a fierce, ravenous full-grown wolf that will turn on
Westville 3630 you every chance it gets. But feed its counterpart and you will
South Africa have a strong and sure defender against such attacks.
activatedAfrica@activated.org How can you tell these two wolves apart so you’ll know which
083 55 68 213 to feed? Whenever you have a thought that causes you to feel
discontent, bitter, unhappy, or critical, you can be sure it’s the
Activated India
wrong wolf, stalking his prey. Don’t be his next meal! Feed the
P.O. Box 5215
other one instead by filling your mind and heart with positive,
G.P.O.
encouraging, strengthening, and faith-building thoughts.
Bangalore – 560 001
You may not be able to stop the evil wolf from coming around,
India
but if you’re smart you won’t wait till he does to start feeding the
activatedIndia@activated.org
good wolf. And remember, the more you feed the good wolf, the
Activated Philippines stronger he will grow. Feed him every chance you get, and the
P.O. Box 1147 evil wolf will be no match for him. When it comes to a showdown,
Antipolo City P.O. the evil wolf will turn tail and run every time.
1870 Antipolo City
Philippines KEITH PHILLIPS
ActivatedPI@activated.org
Cel: (0922) 8125326 FOR THE ACTIVATED FAMILY

VOL 7, ISSUE 10 October 2006 © 2006 Aurora Production AG www.auroraproduction.com


EDITOR Keith Phillips All Rights Reserved. Printed in Taiwan.
DESIGN Giselle LeFavre Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in Activated are from the New King
ILLUSTRATIONS Doug Calder James Version of the Bible © 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc. When other versions are quoted,
PRODUCTION Francisco Lopez some typographical changes have been made for the sake of clarity and uniformity.

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Ι
T HE MIRROR
B Y JULIA K ELLY

failed, all the ways


I was inferior. And
this mirror never
let me alone.
Throughout
this perfect
day there were
many opportu-
nities to laugh
with friends,
to smile at
WOKE UP ONE children, to
MORNING TO A PERFECT DAY, help some-
the kind that begged me to one else—so
run outside and smell the fresh many ways
dew on the grass and soak up to find hap-
the splendor of the early morn- piness. But
ing rays. But this day I barely all I could
glanced out the window. I see all day
ignored the image of perfec- was my
tion and headed straight to the own reflection
mirror. I didn’t like what I saw. in the mirror. I was blinded to
For months I had been everything else, lost in my little
holding up a mirror in front of world that consisted only of me
me. I don’t know where I found and my mirror.
this mirror, but one day I had The sun was shining brightly
glanced into it and from that outside, but there were dark
point on couldn’t put it down. I rain clouds over my mind.
hadn’t been able to see much Everything that happened to
of anything else for a long time. me seemed to confirm that no
This mirror was always in the one cared or even noticed me. I
way, forever staring back at me looked in my mirror, and it told
and reminding me of all my me that there was nothing about
imperfections. This mirror never me to like. I was too riddled with
showed me anything except all faults to be loved or happy. I others, but only from a distance
the ways I didn’t match up to watched the laughter, the smiles, as I sat in my little corner and
expectations, all the ways I had and the happy experiences of peered around my mirror. How
can they be so happy? Don’t they
THESUN WAS SHINING BRIGHTLY outside , BUT notice me? Don’t they see how
miserable I am?
THERE WERE DARK RAIN CLOUDS OVER MY MIND.
Every time I tried to ven-
ture out of my little corner, my

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AND THEN IT OCCURRED TO ME. WHY NOT
JUST cover UP THE MIRROR ?

mirror screamed at me that it first I was


was no use. Then it would throw uncomfortable
my reflection back at me, and with the thought
I would stare and stare some that people could
more, letting the world pass possibly accept me
me by while I sank further and just the way I was,
further into the dark abyss of faults, failings, and
negativity and hopelessness. all. I soon realized,
And then it occurred to me. though, that the more
Why not just cover up the mirror? I let myself just be
Yes, you have faults. Yes, you’ll myself and the more I
never be perfect. Yes, you’ll always reached out to others,
make mistakes. So what? You difficult as that was
can’t live your life ignoring all at first, the happier I
hope of happiness just because you became. The dark rain
don’t have every good quality you clouds over my head were
wish you had. Forget about your- vanquished by bright, warm
self and focus on others. Ignore rays of blessed, lasting peace.
the mirror, and see how much The mirror is still there. It’s was—depressed, withdrawn,
happier you’ll be! never going to go away. But I introverted, and self-absorbed.
It took a great deal of effort, keep it out of sight. There will But every time I’m tempted to
but I finally did cover up the always be the danger that I peek into that mirror, I remind
mirror. At first I felt insecure could pick it up and become myself how much happier I
without my mirror to run to. I captivated by it again. I could am now that I’ve accepted my
felt exposed, vulnerable. At land right back to where I imperfections and determined
to not let them get me down. I’ll
never be exactly the way I wish I
PRAYER FOR THE DAY were, but I do have lots to give to
others. And I can’t do that when
Jesus, I can be thankful even for the struggles in my life and I’m staring into the mirror.
the things that are difficult, because they force me to turn to You When I woke up this morning,
for help and You always give me the answers. You make things so cold rain was coming down in
clear and easy to understand. All I have to do is turn my heart to torrents. Thunder was rumbling,
You and receive. and I couldn’t see the sun for the
Without difficulties, disappointments, and failures I wouldn’t black clouds. It was a miserable
have come to know Your compassion, Your understanding, and Your morning outside, but sunshine
forgiveness, and I wouldn’t be able to pass them on to others. and blue skies were in my heart.
Thank You for all the things You bring my way to keep me Today was perfect! 
humble and make me more dependent on You. Thank You for keep-
ing me close to You. Amen. JULIA K ELLY IS A FULL- TIME
VOLUNTEER WITH THE FAMILY
INTERNATIONAL IN THE U.S.

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B Y C URTIS P E TER VAN GORDER

{ WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN }


Have you ever wondered (verse 6). Maybe he even felt Him—may your hearts live
why bad things happen to you so low, as the saying goes, forever! All the ends of the
and others for no apparent that he would have to reach earth will remember and turn
reason? In asking that ques- up to scratch a worm’s ankle. to the Lord” (Psalm 22:24,
tion you are in good company. Despite David’s lament, 26–27 NIV).
Many times King David of you will read later in the David overcame his
Bible fame asked God the same Psalm that David ends discouragement by praising
same question, as recorded his heartcry on a positive God in spite of how he felt. It
in the book of Psalms. “My note: “He has not despised worked for David, and it will
God, why are You so far or disdained the suffering work for us! 
from saving me, so far from of the afflicted one; He has
the words of my groaning?” not hidden His face from him C URTIS P E TER VAN GORDER
(Psalm 22:1 NIV). but has listened to his cry IS A FULL- TIME VOLUNTEER
In this Psalm, David was for help. The poor will eat WITH THE FAMILY INTERNA -
so discouraged he said he and be satisfied; they who TIONAL IN THE MIDE AST.
was no better than a worm seek the Lord will praise

B Y D AVID B R ANDT B ERG

{ LE T THE LIGHT IN ! }
The Devil is the accuser some oversight, some mistake the light in! Think positive
(Revelation 12:9–10). He or fault, some bad habit—that thoughts. Remind yourself
accuses us for what we haven’t the Devil can pick on if he constantly of the good. When
done or could have done or wants to, and he sure wants to! you think positively about
should have done but didn’t. But thank God for Jesus! yourself and others, it chases
He picks at all the lacks and He’s the antidote! Jesus away the doubts and the fears
shortcomings and weaknesses always points out the good and nagging little accusations
and little failures. If you start things. He never loses faith in from the Devil. Fill your mind
listening to him in your mind, us and He never stops loving and heart and mouth with
you’re beaten, because there us, even when we do make positive things. Chase away
will always be something mistakes. So when the Devil the Devil and all his shades of
more you could have done descends on you with his dark night by letting the light in.
or something you wish you thoughts about yourself or Count your blessings and put
hadn’t done. There will always others, don’t listen to him. the Devil on the run! 
be something—some neglect, Listen to Jesus instead. Let

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DOWN WITH As with every other trap of
the Devil, we can say no to dis-

DISCOURAGEMENT! couragement. We can say no to


anything that’s negative, because
we know that all negativity—all
worry, fear, discouragement,
condemnation, bitterness, and
We live in a physical world, criticism—is from the Devil.
but we are also surrounded And if the Lord tells us not to
by an unseen spiritual world worry, which He does; if He tells
where a continual battle is being us not to fear, which He does; if
waged for control of our hearts He tells us not to be condemned,
and minds. It’s a battle of good which He does; if He tells us not
By Maria Fontaine against evil, a battle between to complain or grumble, which
God and His heavenly forces on He does; if He tells us not to be
one side and the Devil and his bitter, which He does; if He tells
imps on the other. God tries to us not to be critical, which He
steer us in the right direction, does; then we can do what He
toward His blessings, and the says. We don’t have to yield to

D
ISCOURAGEMENT CAN Devil tries to wreck our lives anything negative.
BE REAL TORTURE, and any way he can. We can’t fight When I caught myself think-
it can lead to worse prob- and win this spiritual battle on ing discouraging thoughts the
lems, such as depression and a our own, without God’s help, but other day, I couldn’t reason my
general sense of hopelessness. we can determine the outcome way out of it by trying to tell
In order to effectively combat through our thoughts, prayers, myself that everything was going
discouragement, depression, decisions, and actions. This is to be okay. I had to recognize
and the like, we need to under- why we are told in the Bible to that it was a spiritual attack and
stand that while these negative “put on the whole armor of God, stop and pray for Jesus’ help,
mental and emotional states are that you may be able to stand claiming promises from His
usually triggered by dishearten- against the wiles of the Devil” Word. I prayed, “Lord, You prom-
ing physical circumstances or (Ephesians 6:11), and “resist the ised that You will sustain us if
events, the continued negative Devil and he will flee from you” we cast our burdens on You, and
feelings are spiritual in nature. (James 4:7). that You will ‘never suffer the

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The secret is learning to
recognize discouragement for the
trap it is

The Lord’s miracle-work-


ing power can free us from the
Devil’s discouragement, but only
righteous to be moved’ (Psalm if we turn to Him for help and
55:22). But Your Word also tells reject the Devil’s lies. As soon as
us that ‘he who doubts is like we realize we’re being tempted
a wave of the sea, driven and to become discouraged, if we’ll
tossed by the wind. Let not that focus our mind on the Lord and
man suppose that he will receive the positive, and refuse to give
anything from the Lord; he is a place to the negative thoughts,
double-minded man, unstable in then we’ll have the victory; we’ll
all his ways’ (James 1:6–8). So put a stop to it before it over- When the Devil attacks you
Lord, I ask You to lift this burden whelms us, before we fall prey with negative thoughts or feel-
of discouragement from me, and to discouragement or sink into ings, fight back with promises
then help me to keep my mind the depths of depression. It may from God’s Word, such as “God
on You and Your promises and take a few minutes to fight the is our refuge and strength, a
off of the Devil and his discour- battle. It may even take a few very present help in trouble”
aging thoughts and outright lies.” hours. But as long as we’re fight- (Psalm 46:1), “When the enemy
We can’t help but have ing in the spirit, as long as we’re comes in like a flood, the Spirit
negative thoughts sometimes. desperate not to give in to it, we of the Lord will lift up a stan-
We can’t help but have initial can be assured that we’re going dard against him” (Isaiah 59:19),
feelings of discouragement or to get the victory because the and “You [God] will keep him
depression sometimes. We’re Lord has promised it. in perfect peace, whose mind
still going to have to deal with When we let the Devil put is stayed on You, because he
those first “fiery darts” of his spin on our problems, we trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
temptation (Ephesians 6:16). lose sight of the Lord and His Fight that oppression in the
The Devil’s still going to try to promises and forget His power. power of the Holy Spirit with the
whisper those initial thoughts The secret is learning to rec- Word of God. Don’t let it over-
in our ear, but we don’t have to ognize discouragement for the come you. Don’t give in to it! As
entertain them. It doesn’t have trap it is and take a stand against soon as you start to feel discour-
to keep going on. it immediately, because if we aged, as soon as you start to
give in to it, the battle becomes worry, hit the Devil in the face
much more difficult and it’s with the Word. Go on the attack!
much harder to pull out of it. It is possible to overcome dis-
The battle we have to fight in the couragement. Nothing is impos-
beginning is nothing compared sible for God, and all things are
to the one we’ll have to fight if possible to those who believe!
we allow ourselves to fall into (Luke 1:37). We can have victory!
deep discouragement. 

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praise
r ise why
praise?
B Y C URTIS P E TER VAN GORDER
We praise Him because He hears and
answers us.
“I will praise You, for You have answered
me, and have become my salvation”
(Psalm 118:21).
He hears us whenever we pray, but
it seems we appreciate that most when
we’re asking Him to get us out of a tough
situation, like one that took place in the
city of Basel, Switzerland, in 1815.
Napoleon had just escaped from exile
P RAISE IS WHEN WE on the Island of Elba. As soon as he
TELL GOD IN THOUGHT OR WORD landed in France, he regrouped his army
OR SONG HOW MUCH WE LOVE AND and resumed his campaign to conquer all
pra
ra
APPRECIATE HIM. We can also praise of Europe. In his army’s path to Belgium
Him with motions, like lifting our hands was the city of Basel. One of Napoleon’s
heavenward. generals, Barbanègre, had besieged the
But have you ever wondered what the city and threatened to raze it if they did
purpose of praising God is? Why does not surrender.
the all-powerful God even want or need Instead, a group of Christians in Basel
our praises? Does He even appreciate convinced city officials to give God a
them? I’m convinced that He does, based chance to work. They prayed earnestly
on the simple truth that we are made for God to intervene for them, and
in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27). We they began thanking Him in advance
love to be appreciated, and since God by pledging to start a school to train
patterned us after Himself, certainly He Christian workers after He did.
must enjoy our thanks and appreciation Soon Russian and Hungarian forces
just as much, don’t you think? arrived and attacked the French. Then a
The Bible has lots to say about sudden thunderstorm caused the French
praising God (222 references in the cannons to get bogged down in mud.
Old Testament alone), and it was nearly General Barbanègre had no choice but to
always a spontaneous act on someone’s surrender—and Basel was spared.
part, like all the times King David Because God had heard and answered
praised God for His power and goodness their plea in their hour of desperate
in the book of Psalms. need, the people of Basel made good
Praise is something we initiate because on their promise and put their thanks
we want to, like saying thank you when into action by training and sending
someone gives you a present. The giver hundreds of Christian workers around
shouldn’t have to say, “Thank me!” Words the world—an operation that is still
of thanks should come naturally. going strong today.

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We praise Him because He is good. to keep giving to others. In the same way,
“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good” we are grateful to Jesus Christ our Savior
(Psalm 135:3). “I will praise Your name for paying our debts and freeing us from
for Your loving kindness and Your truth” death. These women feel the same way
(Psalm 138:2). that I do, and they have only one motive
Isn’t it great to know that we have a in helping the lepers—to show their
loving and kind God who can forgive all gratitude to Him who paid their debts.”
of our sins and shortcomings? And isn’t it
wonderful that God gives us so much truth We praise Him because His works are
to help us live our lives to the fullest? We’d wonderful.
really be lost without Him! How could we “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and
not be grateful, like just about everyone in wonderfully made; marvelous are Your
the following story? works, and that my soul knows very well”
A judge and a general were traveling (Psalms 139:14). “O Lord, You are my
together when they stopped for a rest. God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your
There they observed several Christian name, for You have done wonderful things”
women taking care of some lepers. The (Isaiah 25:1).
judge was impressed with the love and Once while visiting my parents, I found
concern that the women showed the one of my elementary school compositions
lepers, but he couldn’t understand why entitled, “What Would I Do If I Knew I
they would risk their own health and Would Be Blind Tomorrow?” My answer
happiness for the sake of a few wretched was that I would go into the forest and
lepers. “Why do you suppose that is?” he admire nature. I would take in every bit of
asked the general. it that I could during that last day of sight.
“It’s because they have the gratitude God’s creation is marvelous, fascinating, WHAT
attitude,” the general replied. awe-inspiring, yet how often do we thank
“Gratitude! What have those lepers ever God for it, or for the gift of sight to be able WOULD I DO
done for them that these women should to see it, like the man in this next story?
feel gratitude?” A group of visitors at a mountain resort IF I KNEW
“I’d have to explain that with a story,” stood and watched the sunset from a
said the general. “I once knew a man who lobby window. A large rough-looking man I WOULD
was in deep trouble financially. If he lingered until the last glow faded, and
didn’t repay his debts in full within two seemed thrilled through and through by BE BLIND
days, his house and all of his possessions the beauty of it all.
would be sold to pay off his creditors and Afterwards one of the other visitors, TOMORROW?
the man would be left destitute. But a more observant than the rest, said to the
kind stranger paid his debts, and he was man, “You certainly enjoyed that sunset.
saved from ruin.” Are you an artist?”
“And who was the benefactor?” the judge “No, I’m a plumber,” he replied with a
asked. slow grin, “but I was blind for five years.”
The general smiled. He had been
discovered. “I had to help him,” the There are a multitude of other reasons
general explained. “You see, a similar why we should praise God, not the least of
thing happened to me many years ago, and which is that it deepens our relationship
someone paid a debt for me. I am forever with Him. Try it, and you’ll be sold on
grateful, and that attitude compels me praise! 

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Yo u c a n t ra n s f o r m
y o u r “d e s e r t ”
into a beautiful
place.

BACA
By Virginia Brandt Berg

I N PSALM 84, KING whenever we pass through such to say something special to you
DAVID DECLARED, “BLESSED a place, we have an opportunity about it. Do some real digging.
ARE THOSE WHOSE STRENGTH to turn that difficulty or Dig a well there, and then dig
IS IN GOD. Who passing through disappointment, that sorrow or in God’s Word until He reveals
the Valley of Baca, make it a hardship, whatever it may be, His precious truth to you. You
well; the rain also covers it with into a blessing. can become victorious in any
pools. They go from strength I’m reminded now of a friend situation, even one as seemingly
to strength” (verses 5–7, of ours who has done just that. hopeless as this Valley of Baca.
paraphrased). Some time ago he became You can transform your “desert”
You won’t find the Valley of gravely ill, and it looked like the into a beautiful place, like my
Baca on modern maps of the end of the active, productive life friend did.
Holy Land, and it isn’t clear he had always led. It looked like Someone has said that a well
whether David was referring to the end, but he turned his Valley doesn’t look very appealing
an actual geographical location of Baca into a great blessing. He beside a running stream, and
or using Baca (derived from “dug a well there,” and as a result I would have to agree. I once
the Hebrew word bakah, which he has become even more loving sat by a mountain stream in a
means “weeping”) figuratively. and patient and sympathetic magnificent forest, and I can’t
If figuratively, Baca is a place and an even greater blessing to imagine any well looking nearly
where all of us have been at others. He let his “Baca” bring as refreshing as that beautiful,
some time or other. It’s a place out the best in him. bubbling, crystal clear stream
of suffering, a place of sorrow, When you find yourself in the did. But if you put any well out in
a place of hardship. It’s a dry, Valley of Baca, get down and dig a dry, dusty desert, the water in
dusty, desert place, this Baca. deep in your heart to find out that well will look mighty good!
The rest of the Psalm brings why God has brought this thing When, in time of sorrow and
out the beautiful thought that into your life, and if He wants distress, you can stand on the

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fear of
failure
FEEDING READING

promises of God and trust in Fear of failure is a nothing to fear, Psalm 1:2–3
His goodness, others will see lack of faith and because He never Matthew 7:24–25
your faith, and it will be to you can actually cause fails. James 1:25
and them as a well in a hard, failure; only faith Numbers 23:19
dry, dusty place. That’s when succeeds. Psalm 37:5 Keep your eyes on
your faith shines brightest: Isaiah 7:9b Jeremiah 32:27 Jesus.
when it causes you to rise Matthew 13:58 Matthew 19:26 Psalm 27:13
above difficulty. Matthew 17:19–20 Philippians 4:13 Matthew 14:25–31
But some people just settle James 1:6–7 Hebrews 12:2–3
down in their sorrows, they sort God can work
of luxuriate in their misery or If we rely only on through us even As long as our
“martyrdom.” They stay in the ourselves and carnal better when we feel desire is to please
valley of weeping, in the Valley means, we have weak and incapable. and follow the Lord,
of Baca, like one woman who everything to fear Isaiah 40:29 He will see to it
came to me for sympathy. True, because we very 2 Corinthians 4:7 that His purpose is
she was having terrible troubles, likely will fail. 2 Corinthians accomplished.
but she saw only herself, only 1 Samuel 2:9b 12:9–10 2 Chronicles 16:9a
her sorrow. She wasn’t dwell- Psalm 33:16–17 2 Chronicles 31:21
ing on God’s faithfulness or Psalm 127:1a If we believe and Psalm 37:23–24
His promises or stirring up her Jeremiah 17:5 obey God’s Word, Ecclesiastes 8:12b
faith at all. Her faith could have John 15:5 success is assured. 2 Corinthians 3:4–5
transformed her valley of suffer- Deuteronomy 29:9 Philippians 1:6
ing into a place of blessing and When we trust Joshua 1:8 2 Timothy 1:12b
refreshing, but she didn’t let it. the Lord, we have 2 Chronicles 20:20b
The Christian life is supposed
to be one that is superior to cir-
cumstances. We can live above to stand upon God’s Word and
it all, because we have a loving, prove His promises. That is how
all-powerful God and all of His we get victory out of seeming We c a n l i v e
wonderful promises. “In all defeat! And when we overcome above it all ,
these things we are more than that way, we find many divinely because we have
conquerors through Him who given living waters springing a l o v i n g,
loved us” (Romans 8:37). up. “The rain also covers it with all- powerful
We are not to stay in that dry, pools. They go from strength to Go d
desolate valley, nor are we to strength.” and all of
merely endure troubles. Just to So the next time you find Hi s w o n d e r f u l
endure isn’t victory! We are to yourself in the Valley of Baca, promises.
praise God and shout the victory reread this passage from Psalm
even before we see it. We are 84 and put it into practice. 

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A
IT HAPPENED TO ME perfect world BY CHALSEY DOOLEY

i T WAS JUST A LITTLE


THING, THAT SMILE ON MY
BABY’S FACE, BUT IT CHANGED
MY PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE.
As he woke and looked up
simism, putdowns? These things
are real, and they are wrong! I
wish these things wouldn’t exist.
If everyone, myself included,
could just get their act together,
After pondering that thought,
I couldn’t imagine something
I’d want less. If he’d been able
to walk and run the day he was
born, I’d never get to see the
at me, he was looking at what my life could be one of bliss- look of thrill and accomplish-
mattered most in the world to ful perfection. Perfection, I ment on his face when he took
him—me! He didn’t care that his reasoned, was the only thing his first steps, and I’d also miss
diaper needed changing or that that could ever relieve my that special feeling of holding
I was dressed in mismatched irritations. But I also knew that him in my arms, knowing that
pajamas, my hair a mess. He could never be. This was real he was completely dependent
just loved me and loved being life. I needed another option. on me. If he had been able to
with me. He didn’t need perfec- The more I thought about it, talk perfectly from the time he
tion; love made it all right. That the more I realized that what I was born, I’d never experience
moment of holding him and really wanted was for the world the joy of hearing him speak his
taking in those rays of love clari- to revolve around me—my first word. If he knew everything
fied something I’d been thinking wishes, my feelings, my prefer- that an adult knows, I’d never
about earlier. ences, my priorities. Something get to see him overcome with
The lack of perfection in had to change, and this time it wonder at some new discovery
life has always rubbed me the had to be me, regardless of the and I’d never have the fulfill-
wrong way. When someone faults of others. But how? I’d ment of teaching him something
said or did something that tried before. new. So many things I’d miss.
irked me, I’d often argue my Then that morning, as I held No, his imperfection makes him
case against it in my mind. Why my baby, a whisper of a thought just perfect. I wouldn’t have him
do there have to be things like came to me. Would you want any other way!
personality clashes, carelessness, your baby to be perfect right from What is it then, I asked myself,
inconsideration, injustice, pes- the start? that makes his imperfection

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different from the other imperfec-
tions around me?
And the answer came. It’s love.
That was it! That was what
I was lacking. That was what
I needed more of in order to
cope bravely and cheerfully
when confronted by problems I
wished didn’t exist.
Think how much you’d miss
if you and everyone around you
were perfect from the start. You’d hold, and my husband and I took
miss the unpredictability of life some time to sing and laugh
that adds the sense of surprise; with him. It was a perfectly
the joy of forgiving and being happy moment that we all would
forgiven; the strong, abiding have missed had everything IF YOU ARE FINDING MORE
bonds of friendship that are been “perfect” that day.
formed through adversity, and Every situation and person we DIRT IN THE GARDEN OF
the positive character traits that encounter can make our lives
are formed much the same way. a ride of joy and surprise, if we YOUR LIFE THAN FLOWERS,
Adding negative thoughts to look beyond. Difficulties, losses,
a negative situation, I realized, hurts, lacks—think of each as a MAYBE YOU’VE GOT YOUR
never brings positive results. I clue in a treasure hunt, the door
determined then and there to to a secret vault where you will EYES TOO CLOSE TO THE
look for and find the positive find beautiful treasures from
opportunities and experiences God. “Ask, and it will be given GROUND. LOOK UP!
that are hidden behind the mask to you; seek, and you will find;
of imperfection. knock, and it will be opened to
When my baby couldn’t sleep you” (Matthew 7:7). 
later that day, I decided to make
the best of a difficult situation C HALSEY D OOLEY IS A FULL-
by putting my new lesson into TIME VOLUNTEER WITH THE FAMILY
practice. I put what I had been INTERNATIONAL IN THE MIDDLE
sure was best for him and me on E AST.

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Tribulation Triumphs
The Great Tribulation, the last three and a half years of Yes, it’s going to be a time of awe-
the Antichrist’s rule that immediately precedes the Second some and terrible events, but God’s
Coming of Jesus Christ, is sadly misunderstood by many people are going to have even more
people. They envision the Tribulation as a time of complete awesome powers to protect and defend
defeat and a terrifying time of hell on earth for all believers and deliver and keep them going right to
in the true God. But I can prove from the Bible that this is the End! Yes, it’s going to be a time of
not the case, thank God! great persecution and great battles, but
we don’t need to fear the Tribulation,

F
IRST, HERE IS THE APOSTLE MATTHEW’S ACCOUNT of because if we’re God’s, He’s going to
what Jesus told His disciples about the Tribulation and take care of us somehow.
the events leading up to it. He’s also going to use mighty men
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples and women, His prophets and prophet-
came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these esses, to lead His people and, with
things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of supernatural help from Heaven, protect
the end of the age?” them from the Antichrist and his forces
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed as they continue to proclaim the truth
that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, until the day that Jesus returns, when
saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you “we which are alive and remain shall be
will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are caught up … to meet the Lord in the air”
not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and “The people who know their God shall
kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pesti- be strong, and carry out great exploits”
lences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the (Daniel 11:32). The people who truly
beginning of sorrows. know Jesus are going to be strong, in
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and spite of the Antichrist and in spite of
you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And persecution! The worse things get, the
then many will be offended, will betray one another, and more God’s Spirit is going to be poured
will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up out from on high to help us withstand
and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the evil forces that will be warring
the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the against us. “As your days, so shall your
end shall be saved. And this Gospel of the kingdom will be strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and All through the Bible there are sto-
then the end will come. ries about how the Lord miraculously
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ empowered and protected His prophets
[the image of the Beast—an idol of the Antichrist], spoken and people, so I’m sure our power is
of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (who- going to be tremendously increased and
ever reads, let him understand). … then there will be great magnified and multiplied during the End-
tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the time. God is going to give supernatural
world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” powers to those who believe in, know,
—Matthew 24:3–15,21 and follow Him, so that they will be able

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By David Brandt Berg

ALTHOUGH THEY WILL BE DIFFICULT DAYS, GOD’S


not only to defend themselves, but even
to attack the forces of the Antichrist. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SHINE BRIGHTER WITH THE
Revelation chapter 11 describes
two of God’s Endtime witnesses who TRUTH THAN THEY HAVE EVER SHONE BEFORE.
will have power to bring curses and
plagues upon the wicked and to actu-
ally call down fire from God to devour
their enemies. What a picture of mighty
men and women of God fighting victori- means of the mighty powers He will give them, but also by
ous battles over the minions of Hell! means of monsters and plagues that He will send to afflict
The Antichrist won’t be able to stop their enemies. In Revelation chapters 8 and 9, we read about
these two until just three and a half the “trumpets of Tribulation” and the mighty judgments that
days before Jesus returns. The Anti- they unleash—horrible monsters released from the “bottom-
christ will finally be allowed to kill them, less pit,” sent by God to torment the wicked—but He com-
but as the wicked are rejoicing over the mands them not to hurt those who have the seal of God in
two witnesses’ deaths, suddenly Jesus their forehead (Revelation 9:4). When God lets loose those
will return in His glory to resurrect and pestilences and plagues and monsters on the people of the
rapture them and the rest of the “dead Devil, the wicked, the wicked will be so busy in their futile
in Christ,” the saved from all ages (1 attempts to defend themselves that they won’t have much
Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians time to persecute the righteous. They may catch up with
15:51–54). It will be a mighty triumph and kill some of God’s people, as they are sworn to do so to
for God’s people, showing that He those who refuse to take the mark of the Beast and worship
holds power over death itself. the Antichrist—some will suffer martyrdom, even as some do
I think these two witnesses of Rev- today—but a host of God’s people are going to march trium-
elation chapter 11 are also symbolic of phant, protected by God, straight through the Tribulation!
all those who know and side with God. So don’t look ahead to the Tribulation as a horrible defeat
I believe they’ll all have “power for the with nothing but persecution and suffering. There will be
hour” in that day to help them survive some of that, but I’m convinced from both Scripture and the
as long as possible. The apostle Paul nature of God and His dealings with man that it’s going to be
wrote, “Where sin abounded, grace primarily a time of great victory over the forces of Satan—a
abounded much more” (Romans 5:20). tremendous triumph over the anti-Christ wicked. Although
And where satanic power is going to they will be difficult days, God’s people are going to shine
abound, God’s power is going to abound brighter with the truth than they have ever shone before.
much more to protect His own. God’s If you belong to Jesus and are following Him closely, you’ll
purpose is not going to be defeated. have what it takes when the time comes. You’ll have power
He’s going to have millions of witnesses for the hour and every hour—the supernatural, miraculous
right up to the End. power of God. The forces of God cannot be defeated, and
God’s Word makes it very clear that the plan of God cannot be frustrated. If you’re on God’s side,
He will defend His own during those you’re bound to win. You can’t lose. God’s going to take care
last three and a half years, not only by of you and use you like you’ve never been used before! 

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Let’s start anew FROM JESUS WITH LOVE

L
IFE’S MANY PROBLEMS AND WORRIES have
pulled you away from Me. Your self-doubt and
fear of failure have weakened your faith that
I hear your prayers and am concerned and want to
help you. But I’m telling you now that these doubts
and the discouragement and depression they lead to
are not from Me. They are straight from the enemy
of your soul, the Devil. He wants to beat you down
and destroy your happiness, but I want to rescue you
and lift you up and make you happier than you ever
dreamed possible. I want to give you a new start.
When you feel discouraged over some mistake
you’ve made or the way you are, remember that I
specialize in using weak, fallible people to show My
love to the world. I allowed the disappointments and
setbacks you’ve experienced over the years in order
to make you more gentle, more compassionate, more
understanding of others’ weaknesses and problems—
more like Me—so you can be a bigger help to them.
So you see, even deep dark experiences are good
for you, and it doesn’t need to stop there. If you will
put yourself into My hands and be soft and moldable,
like clay in the hands of a master potter, I will remake
you. I will take your broken dreams, your heartaches,
your disappointments, and with My hands of love
make you into a better “pot.” It may not be as grand
or beautiful or perfect as what you had in mind, but it
will be perfect in My sight, perfect for the role I have
for you to play here, and perfect for your place in My
heavenly kingdom.