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CHANGE YOUR LIFE. CHANGE YOUR WORLD.

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For a wide range of books and

personally speaking
audio and video productions to
feed your soul, lift your spirit,
strengthen your family, and provide
fun learning times for your children,
please contact one of our distribu-
tors below, or visit our Web site at
www.auroraproduction.com.

Activated Ministries
P.O. Box 462805
Escondido, CA 92046-2805
USA The New Year is more than just a marking of
time—or at least it can be. Many people see it as an
activatedUSA@activated.org
(1–877) 862–3228 (toll-free)
opportunity to make a new start in some area of their
lives.
Perhaps it’s our new calendars with their fresh
Activated Africa/Europe images or our new diaries and weekly planners with
Bramingham Pk. Business Ctr.
their unspoiled pages. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that
Enterprise Way
Luton, Beds. LU3 4BU
millions of other people around the world (and a few
England people closest to us in particular) are making New Year’s
resolutions and setting their sights higher. We don’t want
activatedEurope@activated.org to be outdone or left behind. Call it what you will—a
(07801) 442–317
personal wake-up call, a jolt to our collective conscience,
Activated India or peer pressure—it’s effective ... at least for a few days.
P.O. Box 5215 We all know how that goes.
G.P.O. But this year can be different. This year your New
Bangalore – 560 001 Year’s resolutions can be the start of wonderful, lasting
India changes—if you include God in your plans and work
activatedIndia@activated.org with Him. If your motivation is to please Him most of
all, then you can be sure that He’s more than happy to
VISIT US AT help you make any necessary changes. In the process,
www.activated.org because He loves you and wants you to be happy, He
EDITOR
will also grant you the other desires of your heart. That’s
Keith Phillips a promise! (Psalm 37:4).
And don’t let it stop with you. Find out what changes
DESIGN others you care about would like to make, and get
Giselle LeFavre
behind them. Now that’s rewarding!
ILLUSTRATIONS From all of us at Activated, may God bless you and
Max Belmont may the coming year be your happiest and best yet.
PRODUCTION
Francisco Lopez

VOL 3, ISSUE 1
© 2002 Aurora Production, AG. Keith Phillips
All Rights Reserved
Printed in Thailand For the Activated family

Unless otherwise indicated, all


Scripture quotations in Activated are
from the New King James Version of the
Bible © 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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God’s Mysterious Ways
THE
HOSPITAL CHART
BY REBECCA WATERS, USA

t was 11:30 P.M. on New Year’s

I Eve when my husband Paul and


I received an unexpected phone
call from our city’s hospital—a
call that led to a mysterious and
wonderful meeting with a man
he responded that he did not.
“What is your name?” I asked
him softly as I bent over to take his
hand.
“It’s Jim,” he answered, in a tone
whom neither of us will ever forget! that betrayed his loneliness.
“A Mr. McMullen has been For the next hour or two we
admitted to this hospital,” the voice talked with Jim, getting to know
on the phone informed us. “He is him and reading him comforting
in extremely serious condition. His passages from the Bible. “Jesus loves
admission records list you as his you in a very personal way,” we
next of kin.” reassured him. Then Jim prayed
“Neither my wife nor I have any with us to receive Jesus as his Savior.
relatives named McMullen,” Paul The next day we brought Jim
replied. We looked at each other in some flowers, and our children
bewilderment. “In fact, neither of us came along to chat with Jim and
can recall having ever met a man by sing for him. He was no longer the
that name,” he added. lonely, forlorn man we met the night
It seemed such an obvious before, for he had found Jesus, and
mistake. But then the hospital did the Lord’s love shone in his eyes.
have our correct names and phone About a week later, Jim died. We
number. After we hung up, we missed our new friend, but were
couldn’t put the call out of our happy to know that Jim had passed
minds. Finally we decided to go see on to a better life.
Mr. McMullen. We made some inquiries, but
We arrived at the hospital at 1:30 never did find out who put our
A.M. As we entered the room, we names on Jim’s chart. Perhaps it was
found a very frail, graying old man an angel, sent by the Lord to lead us
whom we had never met before. The to Jim just in time to help him find
nurse asked him if he knew us, and his way to his eternal home. ❍

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BY DAVID BRANDT BERG
To be faithful until death ...

... Just be faithful today!


ne of the best verses that time. So don’t worry about whether

O you could claim for the


coming year—and for the
rest of your life, for that
matter—is: “Be faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life”
you were faithful yesterday or not,
or whether you’re going to be faith-
ful tomorrow. Just do your best to
be faithful today. The Bible tells us
to forget the past (Philippians 3:13),
(Revelation 2:10). and tomorrow will take care of itself
Some people teach that this (Matthew 6:34)—or the Lord will
is referring to salvation. They say, take care of it. Just be faithful today.
“Well, if you always do the right Don’t worry about your whole life!
thing and don’t make any mistakes, Don’t keep asking yourself, “Am I
if you’re perfect, if you ‘keep the going to be faithful until the day I
faith,’ maybe you’ll make it to die, so I can be sure to get a crown
Heaven.” That’s not what that verse of life?”
is talking about at Just be faithful every day, one
all! day at a time, and you’ll be faithful
The Lord isn’t until death and receive an eternal
talking about sal- crown of life. I believe that it is going
vation; He’s talk- to be some sort of an actual halo
ing about your or shining crown that will enable us
faithfulness in to shine like the stars (Daniel 12:3).
service—if you So that’s my prayer for you, that you
faithfully do your will be faithful every day, just one
best to please day at a time until the day you die or
God and obey His the Lord returns, and that you won’t
Word from now worry about the future.
until the day you If you think about trying to be
die. faithful for the rest of your life,
The secret of that scares you, that worries you.
being “faithful That’s just too overwhelming, and
until death” is to you feel that you’ll never make it.
be faithful one But what about today? Weren’t you
day at a time. You pretty faithful today? Surely you did
can only live one a lot of things faithfully today.
day at a time; you I dare say that you were prob-
can only be faith- ably faithful today. Give the Lord a
ful one day at a little credit! I’m trying to get you to
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appreciate yourself a little bit, and to
thank the Lord for how long He has
kept you faithful already! You have
probably worried about lots of days
and events that are now passed. You
have probably had many worries,
nearly all of which never happened.
And here you are—still faithful!
Look at all the time that you
wasted wondering about whether
you were going to be faithful or not,
or whether you were going to suc-
ceed or not, and whether you were
going to still be doing your best for
the Lord. All that time you worried
about it was time wasted, because
here you are, still loving and fol-
lowing the Lord, still faithful. Be
thankful for that! You have been (Hebrews 12:2). He gives us faith as
faithful—not yet “until death”—but we take in His Word (Romans 10:17).
this far! If you’re faithful, you’re full of
So quit worrying about the faith. Do you still have your faith
future! Quit worrying about whether today? Then you are full of faith. Do
you’re going to make it tomorrow you still believe in Jesus today? Then
or not. Jesus said, “Therefore do you’re full of faith. Do you believe
not worry about tomorrow, for you’re saved? Then you’re full of
tomorrow will worry about its own faith. My goodness, you’re so full of
things. Sufficient for the day is faith, I don’t see how you can hold
its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). it all!
Don’t try to live the coming year You’ve been
in advance, and the year after that. faithful today;
“I wonder if I’m going to make it you’ve been full
through tribulation, and I wonder if of faith today. So
I’m going to be ready when the Lord why worry about
comes, and I wonder if I’m going whether or not
to get any reward or crown?” Quit you’re going to
worrying about that! Just keep busy be full of faith
today. Do what you’re supposed to tomorrow? You
do today. Be faithful today! may have trials
The Lord has kept you faithful and tests, you
today, and you ought to thank Him may get discour-
for that! Too many people think aged, you may
that being faithful is some kind get tired, you
of a “good works” thing that they may make
have to work up on their own. But mistakes, but so
that’s not where faith comes from. what? You’ll still
Faith comes from the Lord. He’s “the have your faith,
author and finisher of our faith” so you’ll still be
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more full of that than anything else, moment—right now. Just have faith
right? for one moment at a time! When you
Stop trying so hard! Stop worrying wake up in the morning, you don’t
about it. We just have to depend on need to worry, “Have I got faith for
the Lord to keep us faithful, and trust today?” Just get up and have faith for
Him that our faith won’t fail, because each little thing that you do through-
our faith comes from Him. Faith is a out the day. That’s all you have to
gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). have faith for. If faith no larger than
Only the Lord can keep you faith- a grain of mustard seed can move
ful. Of course, you have to give Him an entire mountain (Matthew 17:20),
a little cooperation. You have to pray then it shouldn’t even take a micro-
and listen to Him, you have to read scopic speck of faith to keep you
His Word, and you have to try to do doing all the things that you need to
So don’t what you know He wants you to do,
but that’s the easy part. It’s His job to
do in a day!
So don’t worry about the future.
worry about keep you faithful—full of faith, filled Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t
with faith that comes from Him. And worry about even the next hour.
the future. if you don’t have enough faith, all you God will give you grace when the
have to do is read and listen to the hour comes. He not only gives power
Don’t worry Word. That’s the source of faith. If you for the hour, He gives power for
about do that, He’ll give you all the faith you the second or the split second—the
need. Just keep reading the Word and instant! That’s all you need. The only
tomorrow. trusting the Lord and don’t worry. faith you need is what you have right
You don’t have to have faith for now, for right now.
Don’t worry tomorrow. You don’t have to have faith “Be faithful until death,” Jesus
for next week or next month, and cer- says, “and I will give you the crown
about even tainly not for next year or many years of life.” You’re going to get a special
the next from now. You don’t have to have that crown, a shining crown, a crown that
faith now. You’ll get it when the time you can be proud of. Of course, you’re
hour. comes. The only faith you need now is going to fall down before the Lord
for today. and cast your crowns before Him, like
You made it through the 24 elders do in Revelation 4:10.
another year, so what Every time you start praising the Lord,
were you worrying about? you’re going to forget all about that
Before long, you will have crown and it’s going to tumble off at
made it through this His feet. When you bow down and give
day—another day of Him the glory, you’ll cast your crown
faithfulness—and then at His feet! But since the Lord gave it
you can go to sleep and to you, you’d better pick it up again
not worry about tomor- and wear it. Your crown will show
row. Rest in the Lord. what you have done for the Lord, and
“Trust in the Lord, and do the Lord wants the world to see it! He
good; dwell in the land, wants everyone to see the badge of
and feed on His faithful- your faithfulness—a crown of life!
ness” (Psalm 37:3). God bless and keep you faithful
You don’t even have throughout the New Year and all the
to have faith for a whole years to come, until you join Him in
day. Just have faith for this Heaven and receive your crown! ❍

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Goodbye Past,
HELLO NEW YEAR BY CLAIRE NICHOLS

GO FOR GOLD he New Year is traditionally a time when businesses

IN 2002
BY PAUL THE APOSTLE, WRITING
FROM THE 1ST CENTURY
T check their inventories, weigh accounts, set goals,
and make projections for the coming year. It’s a time
of reevaluation and establishing new policies. All of
that is simply good business.
It’s also “good business” to stop and take stock of our
In a race everyone runs, but personal lives. A short time of reflection can refresh the
only one person gets first spirit, bring goals and priorities back into perspective, and
prize. So run your race to win help us start the new year on the right foot.
(1 Corinthians 9:24 TLB). Ask yourself, “What am I doing to help people? What will
I be remembered for? Am I making a difference by making
I do not count myself to others’ lives better or happier? What did I accomplish this
past year? What goals did I reach? Was it a year that I can
have apprehended [attained];
be thankful for because, in spite of some missteps and mis-
but one thing I do, forgetting
takes, I gave of my best in the big things? Is Jesus pleased
those things which are
with how I used last year? In which areas do I need to try
behind and reaching forward
harder?”
to those things which are Count your blessings and remember all that the Lord has
ahead, I press toward the goal done for you, and pray for the year ahead. “What in the past
for the prize of the upward year am I most thankful for? What should be my prayer for
call of God in Christ Jesus the year ahead?” Commit your goals and dreams to Jesus in
(Philippians 3:13–14). prayer, and dedicate the coming year to Him. Ask Him to
be a part of every facet of your life. Ask Him to guide your
Let us lay aside every weight, thoughts and actions, and to order your days. And above all,
and the sin which so easily ask Him to fill you to overflowing with His love, for your sake
ensnares us, and let us run and the sakes of those whose lives you touch.
with endurance the race that Then you’ll be ready to launch into the new year with a
is set before us, looking unto heart full of faith, hope, love, and courage. And if you will
Jesus, the author and finisher continue to include Jesus in all you do and follow where He
of our faith (Hebrews 12:1–2). leads, success is guaranteed! ❍

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icture yourself on a reach the peak. These them. It’s so warm inside that

P rugged wind-swept
mountain path. The
boughs of the fir trees
sag under the weight of fallen
snow. This is no beginner’s
obstacles can’t stop you. You
forge onward.
Still, your strength is
waning. You’re being
stretched to the limit in body
they don’t even have their
jackets on. The lodge is like
an island of warmth, cheer,
and encouragement in the
middle of the snowstorm.
trail. It’s steep and rocky and and spirit, and deep down You pause for a moment
there are treacherous cre- inside you wonder if you can to observe the travelers
vasses and gullies. It’s snow- make it. inside, who are getting
ing so hard that you can’t Just then, through the warmed, refreshed, strength-
see very far ahead. When the trees, you see a glimmer of ened, and rested for the
snow lets up momentarily, light. As you move on, the rest of the journey. Maybe
the sky is gray and bleak. Your forest parts and there’s a they’re exchanging informa-
path isn’t marked and you’re mountain lodge, a sort of way tion about what lies ahead or
not traveling with a guide, so station for travelers. It’s built tips on how to make it the
you have to go by sight and of logs, with a steep pitched rest of the way, you think.
intuition. roof and wide overhang. It Or maybe this is their first
You trudge onward, looks so warm, so inviting. time too, but there are guides
knowing that the hardest is There are probably hot inside who know the way, the
yet to come. There will be drinks inside—perhaps coffee pitfalls, and
even steeper grades and less or tea or
visibility. You’ll come to
places where you must use
your climbing equipment just
to be able to hold on to
the mountain. Even now it

takes every ounce of your


strength to press onward.
Your muscles ache and your hot chocolate, perhaps even dangers, who are advising
face stings from the cold. The brandy, you think. them of the safest and quick-
wind causes tears to form, Smoke from the chimney est route.
then blows them from the tells you that a fire is burning And there’s food inside—
corners of your eyes and they in the fireplace. As you get good, hearty, nourishing
turn to beads of ice on closer, the fire flickers and food. You’ve been hungry for
your cheeks. Your hands are gleams through a break in so long that you can hardly
numb. But you have great the curtains at the window. even remember what it’s like
courage and tenacity, and You can hear people laughing to enjoy a warm meal. You’ve
you are spurred on by a inside as they eat and drink, just been eating trail snacks
tremendous compulsion to and you catch glimpses of along the way because you
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didn’t want to stop long to stop and get rested and Why then do we ignore
enough to fix anything more refreshed at that lodge. this help and go it alone?
substantial. Onward you press, into Does pride get the better of
There are probably guest the dark forest and the bliz- us? Is it partly because we
rooms where you could nap zard, up the menacing moun- don’t want to admit that we’re
or even spend the night. tain. It’s better to go it alone, not sufficient in ourselves—
The place seems to have you reason, relying on sheer that we need Jesus, the guid-
everything a weary traveler determination to carry you ance of His Word, and the
might need. You feel pulled through to the end. help of fellow Christians?
by the happy voices inside. And that’s the last you’re And so we trudge on, and
You could use some com- seen or heard from. oh, the way is so difficult!
panionship and a chance to Jesus can’t take away the

compare notes, draw encour- steepness of the climb or the
It’s hard to imagine
agement, and learn from difficulty of the path, but He
anyone doing such a thing,
fellow travelers. can make your journey much
but this is actually what many
Yet, as you survey the easier. These rest stops with
of us do in spirit when we’re
lodge and consider the bene- Him along the way will make
faced with difficult chal-
fits it offers, you have second the journey a joy because
lenges and when a rest in
thoughts. You’ve got to keep you’ll have the strength to
the warm and caring arms
up your momentum, you meet each challenge as it
of Jesus could make all the
reason. Sure, your muscles comes.
difference. He has given us
ache, you’re half-starved, and Listen to His call in your
everything we need to make
your extremities are numb heart, “Stop in at My Word
the rewarding yet sometimes
and stinging with cold. But Lodge, won’t you? Have a cup
difficult and perilous journey
stop? That’s for weaklings of comfort with Me. Warm
and quitters.
THE
MOUNTAIN
LODGE
—Adapted from a message from Jesus

You can make of life—His Word, prayer, yourself by the fireplace of


it. You’d rather find the way communion with Him, and My Word. Learn from those
yourself. You’ll get a little Christian fellowship and who have gone before you.
more glory that way. partnership—yet so many of Rest in one of My big com-
A little voice inside you us try to make the journey fortable beds. Then you’ll be
says, “What if you don’t make on our own. If we stopped ready to set out again. And
it? What if you take a wrong for spiritual rest, we’d find when you reach the moun-
turn? What if you have an food for our soul, fellowship taintop, you’ll rejoice at the
accident because you didn’t with Jesus, and answers to breathtaking view and drink
know the danger points? our problems in His Word from crystal clear mountain
What if you run out of and through prayer. We’d find pools—and you’ll return to
strength?” But you ignore guidance from helpers who tell others how they can get
this voice that is telling you know the way. there too.” ❍
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it happened to me bed (there weren’t enough

one beds to go around). We


began talking, and I
continued to explain more
about God’s great love for

mistake them.
On Monday I was taken
before a judge, fined, and
released. Before leaving, I

I don’t promised my cellmates that


I would visit them soon,
and asked for authorization

regret to do so.
The next Sunday I went
back to jail, this time under
happier circumstances. The
tracts and small gifts I took
FROM P.G., COLOMBIA
the men—sugar, tea, and
One Saturday I was
bread—were met with
pulled over by the traffic
police for a routine check. To heartfelt thanks. The four
my chagrin, I had carelessly men I had shared a cell with
let some of my paperwork then helped pass out tracts
expire. I was taken directly to the other inmates and
to jail. Since it was Saturday visitors.
afternoon, nothing could be My wife and I continue
done until Monday. What a to visit and minister to the
way to spend my weekend, I men in this jail. We are
thought. The Lord, however, thrilled to see peace and
had other ideas. He was happiness replace despair
about to make good use of in the lives of those who
my mistake. are getting to know Jesus
I shared a cell with four as their best Friend and
men who were all in jail constant Companion. They
GOD KNOWS for more serious crimes. are now reading Activated
And I said to the man who Realizing the dim futures magazines and other faith-
stood at the gate of the they faced quickly chased building publications from
year: “Give me a light that away my self-pity. I decided The Family, and they con-
I may tread safely into the to tell my cellmates about tinue to help their fellow
unknown.” And he replied: the forgiveness and hope inmates learn about the
“Go out into the darkness they could find in Jesus. Lord as well.
and put your hand into the The youngest prisoner, a God works in mysteri-
hand of God. That shall be 27-year-old charged with ous ways, and sometimes
to you better than light and homicide, was the first to He even uses our mis-
safer than a known way.” pray with me to receive takes—like my failure to
—MINNIE LOUISE HASKINS the Lord. Upon seeing this, renew my car papers—to
(1875–1957) the three others offered me help accomplish His pur-
some of their food and a poses. ❍

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THE BIG ROCKS
—AUTHOR UNKNOWN

n expert on the subject of time management was speaking to a group of

A business students. He stood in front of these high-powered overachievers,


pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar, and set it on a table
in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and
carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top
and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”
Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”
Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of
gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel
to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked the
group once more, “Is the jar full?”
By this time the class was on to him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.
“Good!” he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of
sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between
the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”
“No!” the class shouted.
Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to
pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim.
Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full
your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things into it!”
“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches
us is this: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
What are the “big rocks” in your life? Are you putting them in first? ❍

Pr a y e r f o r t h e N e w Ye a r
Dear Lord, keep me from having my life so full of good things
that I don’t have time for the best. Help me not to be so pressured
that I put off my time with You. Help me to bask in Your spiritual
sunshine, rest in Your arms, drink deeply of Your Word, and inhale
of Your Spirit. Help me to seek You most of all—more than any
of the other things I enjoy. Help me to remember how You said
that without You, I can do nothing (John 15:5), so that I won’t have
misplaced priorities, but I will have You, Your love, and Your values
in the right place—first!

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: Each New Year I make resolu-

Q tions that I feel will help me get


more out of life. But no matter
how great a start I make, I can’t seem to
keep up the momentum. What can I do
to stick with my resolutions and get the
results I want?

A : We can all relate. It’s difficult


when we feel we’re not
making progress in the areas we know
we need to improve in. As much as
tempted to not live up to your resolu-
tion (Matthew 24:35).

2. Ask for and claim God’s help. If


we try and as many resolutions as we you’re convinced that a certain change
make, we often can’t seem to break bad is what God wants for you (and this
habits or form new good ones. That should be one of the main reasons for
wanting to make any change in the first
Answers to Your Questions

can become so frustrating and disap-


pointing that we eventually lose faith place), you can ask for and expect His
that we can change. Because we’ve help. It is possible for you to change
tried before and failed, we feel we in any area you and God agree needs
might as well give up. to be changed, because even the things
Though you may sometimes feel that are impossible for you are possible
that way, the change you desire is pos- for God (Luke 18:27). He is always
sible. You are God’s creation, and like there to help you—24/7! Memorizing
the loving Father He is, He’s very inter- and claiming appropriate verses from
ested in every aspect of your life. He’s the Bible will help you overcome
ready, willing, and able to give you old thought patterns and provide the
what you need to be truly happy, make impetus to change (Titus 3:5).
progress, and live up to your full poten- 3. Set realistic goals. Unrealistic
tial. So if you’re willing to let God help goals are demoralizing and therefore
you, then you’ll get the results you’re counterproductive. Don’t attempt to
looking for. All He needs is your coop- break the world record in the high
eration and for you to put forth effort jump on your first try. You’ll only
in the right direction. If you’ll do what become discouraged and quit far short
you can do, then He will do the rest. of your potential, let alone the record.
Here are some simple tried and Start with the bar at a height you know
proven techniques for solid progress: you can clear with a little work, then
1. Be fully persuaded that the raise it a notch at a time.
change is needed. Make a list of rea- 4. Don’t try to improve in too many
sons for making the change. Start with areas at once. Determine what your
your own reasons, then study God’s priorities are, and stick to those. Once
Word on the subject and add His rea- you’re making consistent progress in
sons. Your own reasons may be good, the big areas, add the others one or two
but Word-based reasons will reinforce at a time.
your conviction and give you some-
thing solid to stand on when you’re

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5. Program the change into your daily or PERSONAL CHOICE AND DECISION-MAKING
weekly schedule. Unless you set aside specific
For Christians, decision-making is syn-
times to take positive action to enact the
onymous with finding the will of God.
change—to get more exercise, for example—it
Psalm 25:4–5,9
will probably get lost in the press of everything
Psalm 143:10
else you have to do, like it always has. Begin and
end those times with prayer. Don’t try to reason things through on
your own; ask God to tell you what’s
6. Confide in someone. Few things encour- best, and be led by His Spirit.

Feeding Reading
age and strengthen resolve like sharing your Proverbs 3:5,7a
desire to change with somebody who respects Proverbs 19:21
you, understands your reasons, and will cheer Isaiah 55:8–9
you on. This is why support groups such as
those offered by Alcoholics Anonymous are so Good decisions are based on spiritual
successful. considerations and goals, rather than
solely on circumstances or personal
7. Be open to help from others. It takes desires.
humility to ask your spouse, a close friend, or 2 Corinthians 4:18
a coworker for their honest opinion about how 1 Kings 3:5,9–14
you’re progressing toward your goal, but they
The Lord always chooses the best for us.
can provide insight as well as encouragement.
Psalm 37:4
Nearly everyone in the record books and history Psalm 84:11
books had a coach, trainer, mentor, or support- Jeremiah 29:11
ive mate. Romans 8:28
8. Make a pact. Work on it together with One of the main principles involved in
someone who shares the same goal. Challenge reaching a decision: Pray for the Lord’s
each other. Spur each other on. Help one guidance.
another up when one stumbles. Victories are Psalm 37:5
sweetest when they’re shared. Proverbs 3:6
Isaiah 30:21
9. Be patient. Progress usually comes one John 16:13
step at a time, and sometimes that one step is James 1:5
the result of two steps forward and one step
back. As long as you’re making some forward Sound decisions are based on God’s
progress, you’re on your way toward reaching Word.
your goal. Consistency is the key. It takes six Psalm 119:105
weeks to two months to build a new habit. Psalm 119:133a
Proverbs 6:22–23
10. Don’t quit. If you slip back into your Matthew 7:24–25
old habits, don’t condemn yourself and don’t
Seeking godly counsel from others
give up. Review your list of reasons for wanting
often leads to sounder, wiser decisions.
to change. Reevaluate your means for making
Proverbs 11:14
that change. Fix whatever went wrong. Pray and
Proverbs 12:15
claim appropriate promises from God’s Word. Proverbs 15:22
Then get up and try again. Every setback that
you don’t let stop you actually strengthens you. The final test: Is it loving?
Romans 13:9b–10
Happy New Year—and happy new you! ❍ 1 Corinthians 16:14

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”left
COMPILED FROM THE WRITINGS OF DAVID BRANDT BERG

atthew chapter 24 is else’s false Tribulation—

M quite clear on the


subject of Jesus’
Second Coming,
when He is going to return
to gather all those who have
teaching. But the
Bible specifically
says not to do that.
“No prophecy of the
Scripture is of any
the last three
and a half
years leading up
to His return, which
is also the last half of
received Him as their Savior private interpretation” the Antichrist’s reign.
and take them with Him back (2 Peter 1:20). I don’t Jesus also tells us what
to Heaven—an event commonly care what other religious specific sign to watch for,
referred to as “the Rapture.” The groups or other Christians so we’ll know exactly when
rest of the Bible is also clear say; what does the Bible say? that period is beginning. “When
on when this happens. That’s In Matthew 24, Jesus’ dis- you see the ‘abomination of
why for nearly 1,800 years prac- ciples ask Him what will be the desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel
tically every Christian believed sign of His return, and Jesus the prophet, standing in the holy
Jesus would come back after the answers with not one but a place … then there will be great
period He refers to as “Great number of signs—wars, famines, tribulation, such as has not been
Tribulation”—three and a half pestilences, earthquakes, since the beginning of the world
years of intense persecution. persecution of Christians, a pro- until this time, no, nor ever
It’s only in the last couple of liferation of false prophets, law- shall be” (Matthew 24:15,21). We
hundred years that people like lessness, a pervading lack of love, find out in the book of
C.I. Scofield (1843–1921) came and the Gospel being preached Revelation that this “abomination
along with the false doctrine that in every nation. “Then,” He says, of desolation” is an image of the
Jesus would come before the “the end will come” (Matthew Antichrist, or Beast (Revelation
Tribulation. “Don’t worry, Jesus is 24:4–14). 13:14–15). Both Daniel and
going to come and take you out Beginning with the next Revelation tell us that this image
of this world before the trouble verse, Jesus tells us what we will be set up in the holy
comes, so you won’t have to can expect during the Great place at exactly the middle of
suffer.” Naturally that became a the Antichrist’s seven-year reign
very popular doctrine because (Daniel 9:27; 12:11; Matthew
it was just what everybody had 24:15–21; Revelation 13:5).
been waiting to hear. When does Jesus come back
From my experience, many for us?—That’s also plain as
Christians who say they believe day: “Immediately after the
in the pre-Tribulation Rapture tribulation of those days” Jesus
just don’t want to have to go returns (Matthew 24:29). Jesus
through the Tribulation and doesn’t say that when we see
aren’t the least bit prepared for the abomination of desolation
it, so they come up with their standing in the holy place He’s
own interpretation of the Scrip- about to rescue us out of this
tures or latch onto someone world, away from the Antichrist
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and the trouble to come. He He’s already here some-
warns us to head for the hills where (Matthew 24:23–26).
(Matthew 24:16). In other words, He tells us to not believe
we will still be here. any of them, because when
And why did the Lord and He comes, we will know it!
the prophets go to so much Some people who
trouble to tell us exactly how teach a pre-Tribulation
long the Great Tribulation would Rapture go so far as to say
last—the exact time in terms of that it’s going to be a secret
days, months, and years—if we Rapture—that nobody is
didn’t need to know these things, going to see Him except
if we won’t be here, counting the the saved. Nobody else is
days and the weeks? (Daniel 7:25; even going to know He
12:11; Revelation 13:5). Jesus told came. All of a sudden a
us these specifics because He bunch of us are just going to dis- will also see the dead in Christ—
wants us to be able to take heart appear, and those who are left all the saved people who have
in knowing that the Tribulation behind won’t know what’s hap- already died—rising to meet Him
isn’t going to last forever, and pened to us. in the air as He comes. They’ll
that every passing day is bring- If the Rapture is supposed to hear Jesus, too, because He’ll
ing us closer to the glorious end. be a secret, why will the Lord “descend from Heaven with a
During the Tribulation, things make so much noise and put on shout, with the voice of an
will get so bad that many people such a show when He comes? His archangel, and a great sound of
will think it’s time for Jesus to Word tells us that He’s going to the trump of God.” And why
come, especially Christians who “come in the clouds with great are all of the unsaved going
were taught that He was sup- power and glory.” The sky will to mourn?—Because they’re
posed to come before the Trib- light up from one end to the going to see and know what’s
ulation. They’re going to expect other, and there will be such happening (Matthew 24:27,30;
Him to come any day. But Jesus signs in the heavens that we Acts 1:9–11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16;
warns us not to expect Him couldn’t Revelation 1:7). It will be the
sooner than has been foretold. possibly greatest spectacle the world has
He also warns us to not mistake the ever seen.
be deceived by either false fact that Jesus That doesn’t sound like a
christs who will try to is coming. secret coming or secret Rapture
deceive us into thinking In fact, it to me! Does it to you?
that they are Christ, or by says that And there it is again, plain as
false prophets who will try “every eye day: After the dead rise to meet
to tell us that Christ’s shall see the Lord, “then we who are alive
coming is imminent or that Him.” Everyone and remain will be caught up
together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air”

behind”?
(1 Thessalonians 4:17). If we got
raptured before, then what are
we doing still here? ❍
(To be continued.)

The Truth About the Rapture, Part 1


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From Jesus With Love
THERE’S NEVER A
FRACTION OF A
… that I’m not SECOND…
caring for you.
In times of darkness I will be your light. In
times of sadness I will be your joy. In times of
struggle I will be your deliverance. In times
of weakness I will be your strength. In times
of question I will be your answer. And more
important than any of this, I am love to
you. You can never be lost to My love.

So never be discouraged or disheartened,


and don’t look back. Don’t be remorseful
about the mistakes and sins of the past,
for the past is the past. In the very
moment that you sought My forgiveness
and called out to Me, I granted forgive-
ness, so there is no need to worry or fear
or carry the burden yourself.

Never agonize over the past, and never


fear for the future. Look up into My
loving face. Come to Me, and you will find
perfect forgiveness, perfect comfort, perfect
strength, perfect love, from now until the day
that I return for you.

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