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change your life. change your world.

Vol 11 • Issue 3


Perfect security, perfect peace

Strokes of God
Why believe in miracles?

Squirrel Power
Take the leap
Browse our website or contact one of the
distributors below to enjoy the inspirational,
Vol 11, Issue 3 motivational, and practical help offered in
our books and audiovisual material.
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The first step in learning to swim is learning to float, and that
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Editor Keith Phillips
shallows, and you will be ready for whatever the future may hold.
Design Yoko Matsuoka
Production Jessie Richards
Keith Phillips
© 2009 Aurora Production AG
For Activated
All Rights Reserved. Printed in Taiwan by Ji Yi Co., Ltd.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated,
are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright
1. Psalm 103:13 TLB © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All
2. Isaiah 43:2 rights reserved.

By Jo Dias

“Miserable!” That was running up and down the trees, glory that come from knowing
the only way to describe he started hopping from one tree one is meant to perform such
how I was feeling that to the next. He jumped over to feats. He chattered in victory and
day. My husband had had the last tree in the cluster, and scampered farther up the tree, as if
to travel—again!—and then looked at one more tree that to his reward.
there I was alone with stood apart from the others. He I knew then what had been
our four children. seemed to be deliberating. missing. I had been so busy look-
Finances were low, my health was I mentally measured the ing at my problems—measuring
bad, and my teenage daughter distance between the squirrel the distance between the trees—
was going through a crisis. I and that tree, and it seemed that I was afraid to let go and sail
prayed—oh, how I prayed!—that two or three times as far as he to the other side. I had lost my
Jesus would make things a little had been jumping. Here was a faith in my maker, my Savior, my
easier to bear. massive challenge. best friend.
Looking out my window at “You can’t be serious, little As I watched the squirrel, now
a grove of trees swaying in the fellow!” I muttered. merrily chattering away in the
gentle breeze, I recalled other But he wasn’t looking for my treetop, I knew that Jesus had
times when Jesus had encouraged advice. He ran the length of the answered my prayer—not through
me to hold on until He could branch a few times, squealing a spectacular miracle, but rather
work things out. frantically. Then he stopped and the example of a happy little
That’s when I noticed a little eyed the distance once more, squirrel. The same God who took
squirrel, squeaking away as he crouched, and leaped. I wanted care of him was going to take care
climbed up and down the trees, to turn my eyes away. Surely this of me.
seemingly without a care in the was going to end badly!
world. I envied the little fellow. But no! He flew across that Jo Dias is a member of the
My squirrel chose that moment immense span and landed in the Family International in
to change tactics. Instead of other tree with the grace and England.1

and forever
The way Jesus works in our
lives and the way He chooses
to do things is often past our
comprehension. It’s mysterious
By Maria Fontaine and usually takes faith
and patience, because His
timetable is often different
from ours. Living the Christian life
requires faith and trust, because we’re
not the ones in control—Jesus is. We
have to remind ourselves constantly that
He knows best, that He does all things
well, and that His priorities are often
different and much more long-term and
“big picture” than ours.
Even with all of His awesome prom-
ises—promises like, “Whatever you ask
the Father in My name He [will] give
you,”1 “Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find; knock, and it
will be opened to you,”2 and “If you
have faith, nothing will be impossible
for you”3 —we have to remember that
we can do our part, but we’re not the
ones calling the shots. We’re not the
ones with the bird’s-eye view of the
past, present, future, and master plan
for eternity. We can put Jesus on the
spot and we can harness all the spiritual
power He has put at our fingertips,
but ultimately it is His will that must
be done. Jesus is in control, and He
knows best.
It’s so important to keep an attitude
of simple trust in Him, as otherwise we
can struggle with so many questions
when things don’t turn out the way
we were hoping or the way we prayed
they would.
There is so much in the Bible on this
topic, as well as throughout the writings

of men and women of faith from something that is unseen, for has ever been—trust in God and
the past 2,000 years—and of which you have no tangible proof His wonderful ways. You can’t
course Jesus can also still speak to at the time. figure it all out. Instead, encourage
our hearts today. Every now and But the more you study God’s yourself in the Word and relax in
then it’s good to stop and reflect Word,* the more your faith the comfort of knowing that Jesus
on the various reasons why Jesus will grow.5 has everything in His hands. Rest
works the way He does, why In time you will find many in Jesus’ arms, let Him shield you
things don’t always turn out the wonderful promises and expla- and support you, and in God’s
way we’d like, why every prayer nations that answer age-old time the storm will pass.
isn’t answered in the manner questions such as why it seems like
we had hoped, and why life is God doesn’t always answer prayer. Maria Fontaine and her
sometimes harder than we think it But the fact is that life, with all husband, Peter Amsterdam,
should be. the difficulties and trials and are the administrative and
If you don’t strengthen your times when prayers seemingly go spiritual overseers of the
faith, life can seem pretty hard for unanswered, will continue to be Family International. 1
no good reason. When that hap- a test of faith. It will always be so
pens, you can start to feel that it’s until we get to heaven. J E S U S - I N -YO U FA I T H
your fault, that you must be doing Whenever things are rough, One aspect of faith that we
something wrong, that Jesus must whenever you feel that they’re not all need is full, unlimited
be displeased with you because He turning out the way you’d hoped, confidence in Jesus’ ability
isn’t answering your every prayer when you feel your prayers aren’t to work through us. We must
as you want Him to, or that being answered, when the trials dare to try, which means
maybe the promises He’s given of life are a little too much to allowing Him to try through
don’t actually work “as advertised.” bear, when the battle seems too us. “We have this treasure
The devil is always trying to long, when your faith is under in earthen vessels, that the
tear down your faith. His job is attack, when you’re feeling weary excellence of the power may
to try to get you to doubt God’s and aren’t sure if you can take be of God and not of us.”6
Word. I’d say that’s his number- much more, climb up onto the —Maria Fontaine
one mission—and it started way rock-solid foundation God has
back with Adam and Eve in the provided for your faith through *If studying the Bible and Bible-based
Garden, when he asked them, His many promises and encour- publications is new to you, the booklet
“Has God indeed said?”4 He aging words, and rest in that Understanding God’s Word, available from
wanted to get them to doubt God, safe haven. any of the addresses on page 2, will get
and in that case his charms and Don’t try to answer all of the you started.
half-truths worked. devil’s lies and accusations your-
In addition to the devil’s self; let the Word answer for you. 1. John 15:16
constant attempts to hurt your Take comfort, also, in the fact that 2. Matthew 7:7
faith, you’ve also got human this battle isn’t uniquely yours. 3. Matthew 17:20
nature working against your It’s one that every Christian of all 4. Genesis 3:1
faith, because faith defies logic time has had to reckon with, and 5. Romans 10:17
by requiring you to believe in the answer is the same today as it 6. 2 Corinthians 4:7

By Misty Kay

“Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” This principle of faith is something on which God
Elisha’s servant asked. places a great deal of importance. It’s also something
The king of Aram (present-day Syria) was at war that He gives us credit for3 because it is a sign of our
with ancient Israel and had sent an entire army to love and trust in Him, that we believe Him and His
the city of Dothan to capture the prophet Elisha. spiritual power and the principles He lays out for us
They came by night, so when Elisha’s servant woke in His Word.
and went out early in the morning, an army with We walk life’s hot, hard, dusty roads battle-weary
horses and chariots had surrounded the city. and scarred, but we arrive in heaven triumphant.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet said. “Those who The angels blow their trumpets to herald our victory.
are with us are more than those who are with them.” We held on when it seemed the whole world was
And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he against us. We didn’t sink when the storms of life
may see.” rocked our ships. Satan attacked us on every side.
Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he He threw his worst at us, but we survived. We held
looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots on. We did our best. We believed! We won the war
of fire all around Elisha. (These events are recorded of faith. Henceforth is laid up for us a crown of
in the Bible, 2 Kings 6:8–17. Read the rest of the righteousness.4
chapter to find the amazing outcome!) Several years ago when I was very ill, recovering
In this story, the angelic army was already there, from a bout with cancer, Jesus told me that He
but Elisha’s servant was afraid because he hadn’t yet had given me an “angel of comfort” to be with me
seen them. Why must we always see with our own during those difficult times. I never saw her face, but
eyes in order to believe? We have the Bible promise, through many long days and lonely nights, when the
“[God] shall give His angels charge over you, to keep pain was at its worst, I could feel her presence, like
you in all your ways.”1 Is it not enough to believe a tender mother’s, as though my head lay in her lap
because God’s Word says so? while she held me close and stroked my head. It was
Seeing is the reward of believing, not the other such a blessed feeling of peace, like a soft, warm aura
way around. that enveloped me. In spite of the pain, I found my
Why does it have to be this way? Why does God heart filled with wonder and thankfulness for that
make it so hard for us? Why do we have to take special touch from heaven.
everything by faith? The answer lies in that last little I am now certain of one thing: angels are not far
word—“faith.” It wouldn’t be faith if we could see. from us, floating around on clouds in heaven. They
Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me are here, all around us, standing ready night and day
you have believed. Blessed are those who have not to serve, aid, comfort, and protect us. I may not be
seen and yet have believed.”2 able to see them, but I know they are near.

When I receive my heavenly crown someday,
I will know that I didn’t earn it by myself; I was
aided in my fight of faith by a “great cloud of
witnesses,”5 the invisible armies of heaven. On
that glorious day I will want to meet my angel of
comfort and the other dear ones who walked with
me and lifted me up when I was weary. On that
day, I will thank them face to face.

Misty Kay is a member of the Family

International in Taiwan.1

By David Brandt Berg

When you truly trust God, you can have peace

in the midst of storm and calm in the eye of the
hurricane. It reminds me of an art contest that was
held in which the artists were asked to illustrate
peace. Most of the contestants handed in paintings
of quiet, calm scenes of the countryside—absolute
tranquility. Well, that’s a form of peace. But the
hardest kind of peace to have was illustrated in the
picture that won the award. It depicted the roaring,
raging, foaming rapids of a storm-swollen waterfall,
and on a little tree branch overhanging the torrent
was a nest where a tiny bird sat peacefully singing
in spite of the raging river. That’s when your faith
gets tested, in the midst of turmoil. Quietness is a
sign of faith.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by
prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your
requests be made known to God; and the peace of
God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard
your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”6

1. Psalm 91:11
2. John 20:29
3. Hebrews 11:6
4. 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7–8
5. Hebrews 12:1
6. Philippians 4:6–7

By Tomoko Matsuoka

One day, while browsing Eve should be thought of as sentence had driven out and
in a bookshop, I came “symbolic prototypes of man- slammed the door on the doubts
across an encyclopedia kind.” The book of Genesis that had entered and tried to take
with a section of Bible- was merely “a way for certain hold of my mind.
related articles. I was authors to express their theories I realized then why so many
curious to see how a secular on the origins of human life and people still have faith in the
scholar might depict the great cultural identity.” Bible, even after reading books
men and women of the Bible, I had only skimmed a few pages like this encyclopedia, which
so I began to read some of the when a hollow feeling settled in undermine faith through their
short biographies—the prophets my stomach. Part of me wanted to skeptical and narrow views.
Daniel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah; close the book, but another part It’s because through the Bible
King David; Samson; the apostles kept flipping the pages, looking they have come to know its
Matthew, Peter, and Paul. … for some statement that reaffirmed true Author, God, and His Son,
One after another, things my faith in the Bible. Then my Jesus Christ.
I had accepted as fact were eyes fell on the closing sentence God is alive and well; Jesus
brought into question: Three of the entry on Jesus Christ. “In not only rose from the dead, but
people may have written the all the inevitable questioning over He now lives in every heart that
book of Isaiah; the apostle the biblical account of the resur- invites Him in; and the words
Matthew may not have written rection of Jesus, one fact seems found in the Bible are alive
the Gospel of Matthew; Paul beyond dispute: Jesus’ disciples and powerful. How do I know
may not have written some of were prepared to stake their lives these three things to be true?
the epistles that have been attrib- on its veracity.” And so have Because I have experienced them
uted to him. On and on it went. countless others down through for myself. I believe the Bible
With phrases like “mythological the ages, I might add. The author, because I have seen its effect in
symbolism,” “legendary accredi- in his scholarly attempt to debunk my life.
tations,” and “obscure visions,” God’s Word, couldn’t explain
the author went on to explain in away its power. Tomoko Matsuoka is a member
great detail how every book in I felt vindicated, then ashamed of the Family International
the Bible was flawed or shouldn’t at how little faith I had shown and an A ctivated staff
be taken literally. Adam and just moments earlier. That closing writer.1

points to ponder

How Faith Works

From the writings of David Brandt Berg

God loves to precipitate a crisis. How do you get faith? It’s a gift of
He sometimes lets things hap- God and available to anyone who
pen to make us pray and believe wants it. The problem is, a lot of
Him for the answer. He wants people don’t want it until they need
us to take a definite step of faith Take the first it, and then they suddenly find
by making specific requests and they don’t have the faith they need
expecting specific answers. step in faith. because they have no background
of faith in God’s Word. As no good
2 You don’t have building is without a good founda-
tion, there is no solid basis for faith
Faith in God, trust in God, gives to see the whole without the Word; faith in God is
a feeling of rest of body, peace of built on His Word. So if you feel
mind, contentment of heart, and staircase, just like you’re weak in faith, there’s
spiritual well-being. When we a simple cure: God’s Word will
know that God loves us, we know take the first increase your faith.
everything is going to be okay. “Faith comes by hearing, and
step.—Martin hearing by the Word of God”1
2 —meaning it comes through read-
Luther King, Jr. ing God’s Word or learning from
We’re supposed to believe God’s someone who is teaching about
Word simply because He said so. God’s Word. The more you fill your
It’s like a child who has to trust heart and mind with the words of
his parents even though he doesn’t God, the more faith and the less
always understand why he must worry, fear, and stress you will have.
do or not do this or that. He just
has to “do it because Daddy says 2
so.” Because the child trusts his
parents and feels secure in their When you pray, expect an answer.
love, he takes their word for it. God is bound by His Word, so
That’s the way we should be with remind Him of His promises.
God. We should say to Him, “Yes Never doubt for a moment that
sir!” and believe it and do it simply God is going to answer, and He
because He says we should. That’s will. He has to. He wants to.
one way of showing our love and Trust Him and thank Him for
confidence in Him. the answer, even if you don’t see it
immediately. 1

1. Romans 10:17
By Curtis Peter van Gorder

Every so often we every miracle were recorded they “Thank you, but I don’t think
read or hear about would far outnumber lightning so,” I said. Then, without mean-
some happening that strikes. What makes me so sure? ing to, I explained our situation.
so completely defies I’ve yet to be struck by actual “I’ll do it,” the man said.
explanation that the lightning, but I’ve experienced He’s just trying to make some
people involved are many “strokes of God.” money on the side, I thought.
convinced they have been One such miracle that comes to Entering into a deal with a
part of a miracle. mind happened when I was living freelance taxi driver can be dicey,
For the rest of us, it takes in Uganda, East Africa, and it ties so I said, “Thank you, but we are
faith to believe those accounts— in with another one that hap- looking for a regular taxi.”
faith that miracles are possible, pened to someone else there. “I’m not a taxi driver. My
as well as faith in those giving My son had been visiting from name is George, and I’ll drive you
the accounts. But faith has its Japan, and his flight home left for free.”
rewards. If we can believe that early the next morning. I lived George seemed sincere, but
“impossible” things have hap- quite some distance from the why anyone would stop and offer
pened to others, then perhaps we airport, which meant he needed to to help in such a big way was
can believe that they can happen leave the house at 4 am. curious. We invited him for coffee
to us too.The French philosopher Realizing that it wasn’t going to at our home to get to know him
and mathematician Blaise Pascal be easy to find a taxi at that hour, better. It was there that he told us
(1623–1662) called miracles the we prayed for God to supply one his own miracle story.
“lightning strokes of God.” There’s and went to the main road, hop- Years earlier he had been
no “perhaps” about a lightning ing to flag down a taxi driver who working as an electrician for the
strike, especially to one who is would agree to pick up my son city’s main power station. Huge
standing on the spot where it the next morning and take him to amounts of electricity flowed
hits! Lightning is powerful, and it the airport. through the lines he worked
happens often—about 100 times As we were standing by the side on, so one small mistake could
per second in as many locations of the road, a jeep pulled up. “Can be fatal. One day that “small”
around the world. I’m sure that if I help you?” the driver asked. mistake happened. Someone else

had failed to flip a certain switch, ones He was sending me to.” The amount happened to be
and thousands of volts of electric- Now convinced of his sincerity, exactly what my son needed for
ity coursed through George’s we thanked George profusely for his next project.
body. He should have been killed his willingness to drive my son to Few people would question
instantly, but for some inexplic- the airport so early. that God saved George’s life by
able reason he wasn’t. Everyone “God also told me to fill my a miracle, but what about our
said it had been a miracle. gas tank,” he said. Full tanks are meeting him the way we did?
This brush with death changed almost unheard of in Uganda Ours wasn’t a life-and-death situ-
George’s priorities and perspective because thieves routinely siphon ation, but does that make God’s
on life. “Since that accident,” gas from parked cars, but this intervention in answer to prayer
he said, “I try not to make a time it made sense; no gas stations any less miraculous? I believe that
move unless I hear from God. I would be open at 4 am, and we every time we have a need, it’s
was sitting in my room tonight, were far from the airport. an opportunity for God to work
watching TV, when that inner The next morning George on our behalf. Ask for, look for,
voice that I’ve come to recognize arrived right on time and drove and expect miracles, and you will
as God’s spoke to me. Get up, get my son to the airport. He did get them!
in your car, and drive. You’ll meet not ask for money, but rather
someone who needs your help. gave my son a generous donation Curtis Peter van Gorder
When I saw you by the side of for his volunteer work, which is a member of the Family
the road, I knew you must be the came as another answer to prayer. International in India.1

Faith has its

rewards. If we
can believe that
things have
happened to
others, then
perhaps we
can believe
that they can
happen to us
BURDEN or blessing?
By Shannon Shayler

Many things that seem to be at your side,” Jesus reassured “The riches of heaven!” the
us to be curses are in fact her. “When the way gets steep or woman exclaimed as her eyes
gifts from God, oddly you feel faint, lean on Me.” feasted on treasures of unearthly
packaged. So they walked on together, beauty.
The story is told of a woman and it was just as Jesus had said. “This is your eternal reward—
who loved Jesus very much Sometimes the woman stopped My gift in appreciation for all
and wanted nothing more than and told Him that the weight was you have been through,” Jesus
to please Him. “I’ll gladly do too much for her to bear, and so explained.
whatever You ask,” she promised, they bore it together. Astonishment turned to tears
hoping secretly for some noble By and by they arrived at of joy. The woman fell at Jesus’
and noticed place of service. their destination. The woman set feet and said, “Oh Lord, forgive
To her dismay He handed her bundle down at Jesus’ feet me! I misunderstood all these
her a heavy, rough burlap sack and heaved a sigh of relief. Her years. If I had only trusted You
and asked her to carry it as they burden-bearing days were over. and not doubted and questioned!
walked through life together. She “Let’s see what’s inside,” Jesus If only I had understood what
was curious about the contents said with a twinkle in His eye. was inside the sack, it would have
of the sack, but it was tied closed With one stroke of His hand the been a joy to carry. I never should
with a strong cord and so many knots were undone, the sack fell have grumbled or complained!”
intricate knots that clearly it was open, and the contents spilled You may look around and see
not meant to be opened just yet. out. others whose burdens appear to
As they started on their way, be much lighter than your own,
the woman sank down under the and you may wish you could
weight of her burden. “It’s too trade places. But if God were to
heavy!” she protested. grant you your wish, you would
“My strength is made perfect in find that their burden would be
your weakness, and I will always even heavier and harder for you
to carry than your own, for it was
not meant for you. Each burden
is tailor-made for its bearer, and
is fashioned with the greatest of
All I have seen teaches me love and care. God knows exactly
what’s best for you. Trust Him.
to trust the Creator for all
“Burden or Blessing?” is
I have not seen. excerpted from O bstacles A re
for O vercoming , a booklet in
—Ralph Waldo Emerson the G et A ctivated series.1

relax your jaw
By Stephanie Kelly

As I fixed breakfast, my
thoughts drifted to
the day ahead. There were
meetings to attend, projects to
complete, emails to send, phone
calls to make, and on it went. The
next time I printed out my to-do
list, it occurred to me, I should
use a smaller font so it would
fit on two pages. I grabbed my
breakfast and some coffee, and
dashed off to get ready for the day.
I picked up a devotional
publication I had been reading, green and his clothes blue, I realized how I needed to take a lesson from
and it fell open to a section her. She wasn’t worried about the day ahead or how many things had
titled “Practical Tips for Resting been left undone the day before.
in Jesus.” One tip was “Make I tried counting my blessings. The first thing that came to mind was
a conscious effort throughout that I didn’t have to worry about being thrown into a lion’s den.
the day to relax your jaw, stop Aisha looked up from her coloring and smiled. “Relax your jaw”
clenching your teeth, unfurl your flashed through my mind, and I determined to not allow the pressure
brow‚ and let your shoulders to get to me that day. I would trust and rest in Jesus, even if I didn’t
drop.” I laughed out loud at the accomplish anything else.
mental picture. I dropped off Aisha at her pre-school and launched into my “real”
Before I knew it, I was back workday. Jobs piled up, but amazingly I didn’t feel stressed. At the end
into rush-and-stress mode. There of the day I collapsed on my bed, tired and ready to sleep, but I wasn’t
was just so much to do! down, I wasn’t worried about all the work that awaited me the next
My first task was Bible story morning, and I didn’t have my usual I-need-to-get-away-from-it-all
and activity time with my co- thoughts. I felt happy, loved, and at peace.
worker’s two-year-old daughter I’ve decided that I like this new way of life, trusting the Lord and
Aisha, so her mom could get a enjoying life and work and all the challenges that come with it. I don’t
jump on her day. always get it right, of course, but I’m determined to keep at it. And I
As I read the story of Daniel relax my jaw a lot more.
in the lion’s den—always a
favorite—and Aisha colored an Stephanie Kelly is a member of the Family International in
activity page, making Daniel’s face South Africa 1


Here are just a few Answers to prayer keep His commandments and do
of God’s promises Jeremiah 33:3: Call to Me, and those things that are pleasing in
to you. There are I will answer you, and show you His sight.
hundreds more that you great and mighty things, which
can hold Him to when you do not know. Protection and help in time of
faced with any problem. John 15:7: If you abide in Me, trouble
God’s promises are contracts. and My Words abide in you, you Psalm 34:7: The angel of the
Most have conditions attached. will ask what you desire, and it Lord encamps all around those
Take a moment to think about shall be done for you. who fear Him, and delivers them.
each one in terms of God’s part 1 John 5:14–15: This is the Psalm 46:1: God is our refuge
and your part. confidence that we have in Him, and strength, a very present help
(In the following list, only that if we ask anything according in trouble.
the most pertinent parts of to His will, He hears us. And if we Isaiah 43:2: When you pass
some verses are given in order to know that He hears us, whatever through the waters, I will be with
highlight the promise.) we ask, we know that we have you; and through the rivers, they
the petitions that we have asked shall not overflow you. When you
God’s love of Him. walk through the fire, you shall
Romans 8:38–39: I am per- not be burned, nor shall the flame
suaded that neither death nor Material supply scorch you.
life, nor angels nor principalities Psalm 84:11: No good thing
nor powers, nor things present will He withhold from those who Comfort
nor things to come, nor height walk uprightly. Psalm 34:18: The Lord is
nor depth, nor any other created Matthew 6:33: Seek first the near to those who have a broken
thing, shall be able to separate us kingdom of God and His right- heart, and saves such as have a
from the love of God which is in eousness, and all these things shall contrite spirit.
Christ Jesus our Lord. be added to you. Psalm 119:50: This is my
Philippians 4:19: My God shall comfort in my affliction, for Your
James 4:8: Draw near to God supply all your need according to Word has given me life.
and He will draw near to you. His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. John 14:18 KJV: I [Jesus] will
1 John 4:8: God is love. 1 John 3:22: Whatever we ask not leave you comfortless: I will
we receive from Him, because we come to you. 1

A Spiritual Exercise

The story is told of an She had lost the whole Bible

elderly woman whose except that one word, but in
memory was starting that one word she had the whole
to fail her. Over the years Bible and her faith intact.
she had read and studied the There is a wonderful place of If you haven’t met the
Bible so much that she knew peace that we too can reach if we friend who will love you
many passages by heart. One can concentrate solely on Jesus. through thick and thin,
of her favorites was from Paul’s Find a quiet, comfortable spot the One who holds the
second letter to Timothy, which and try this spiritual exercise: keys to overcoming and
included the verse, “I know Close your eyes. Imagine happiness and joy and
whom I have believed and am Jesus bending over you like eternal life, you can
persuaded that He is able to the doctor in the story above. right now by sincerely
keep what I have committed to He is listening to your faintest praying a prayer like the
Him.”1As long as she held onto whispers. Now say His name. following:
Jesus, He would not fail her. Slowly repeat it several times. Dear Jesus, thank
As time went by, she found He is there with you, and He is You for dying for me so
that she could no longer remem- all you care about. This is not that all my mistakes and
ber the whole verse—only the the time for a lengthy prayer wrongs can be forgiven.
phrase “what I have committed listing your problems and needs I open the door of my
to Him,” which she quietly and describing them in detail. heart and invite You
repeated to herself. It’s a time of simple trust, as you in. Give me Your gift of
Then at last, as she hovered focus your attention on Jesus and eternal life, and be my
between this world and the next, Him alone. In these moments nearest, dearest, truest
the attending doctor noticed her you can discover the truth of the friend. Amen.
lips moving and bent down to Bible promise, “You [Jesus] will
see if she needed anything. She keep him in perfect peace, whose
was repeating over and over the mind is stayed on You, because
one word of the text she remem- he trusts in You.”2 1
bered. “Him. ... Him. ... Him.”

1. 2 Timothy 1:12
2. Isaiah 26:3

when “reality”
is not reality

Sometimes, because you see yourself or situ- to conclude that you’ll never be a success.
ations a certain way, you put limits on what “Realistically” looking at your personal his-
I am able to do in answer to your prayers. tory and situation, you could conclude that
You have to let go of your preconceived ideas it’s better not to expect to ever find a soul
before you can believe that I will intercede, mate, because then you won’t be disappointed.
or that change is even possible. Sometimes But being so “realistic” can dry up the soul.
your desire to want to be realistic and not get Put your hope and faith in Me. That’s the
your hopes too high becomes a lack of faith. one and only way you can be sure to not be
It’s good to be a realist to some degree, to not disappointed.
have unrealistic expectations of yourself or life There are times when the reality you see is
in general, but too much realism can lead to not reality. But whether the challenge is in
discouragement and a defeatist attitude. your mind or a real obstacle or circumstance,
Introspection and dwelling on your weak- I can see you through it. I’m even able to defy
nesses could lead you to “realistically” conclude the laws of nature in answer to your prayers,
that you’re a hopeless wreck. “Realistically” because all things are possible for Me. That’s
evaluating your abilities could lead you reality!