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Activated September 2012

Optimism - September 2012

Sheer willpower can get us through many of life's difficulties, but only God can get us through the really tough ones. He wants to not only do that, but to make us better in the process.
 

01-09-2012
Angels in Disguise
Angels in Disguise

I wish you could meet three people who each made a big impression on me. If you could, you’d understand immediately what this issue of Activated is about.

The first was a busboy who cleared my table from his wheelchair with such outgoing charm that I wasn’t a bit surprised when the manager told me on my way out that he considered that busboy his most valuable employee. “More people come back for him than for the food,” the manager confided.

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01-09-2012
Never Give Up!
Never Give Up!

Ben is a white-haired man whose house I pass on my errands route. He always calls out a friendly greeting, and over time we’ve become good friends. His cheerful demeanor and lively personality make him a joy for me to be around, despite our age difference.

Last spring, Ben slipped on a wet bathroom floor, fell backwards, and hit his head hard. The impact brought on a stroke that resulted in recurring dizzy spells and headaches, blurred vision, permanent damage to his left eye, and loss of stamina.

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01-09-2012
Three Treasures
Three Treasures

I asked myself recently what keeps me steady in times of crisis. What keeps me from giving up and saying, “I don't want to keep trying,” “I don’t want to give so much,” “I don’t want to care anymore,” “I don’t want my heart broken anymore,” “This burden is too heavy for me to keep carrying.”

 

 

What keeps me from doubting God’s promises when all of my faults and failures hang over me like a black cloud and my feelings threaten to overwhelm me? When I don’t know if I can cope, what keeps me from...

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01-09-2012
The Fourth Leaf
The Fourth Leaf

I collect four-leaf clovers. It’s a sort of hobby, like knitting or shooting hoops.

According to the noble creed of clover collectors, each leaf represents something: the first leaf, hope; the second, faith; the third, love; and the fourth, not surprisingly, good fortune. To most of those who are fortunate enough to have found a four-leaf clover, that fourth leaf means a lucky day, health, a kiss from God, or maybe just a sour little snack. To me, that fourth leaf means another precious addition to my collection.

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01-09-2012
The Payoff of Perseverance
The Payoff of Perseverance

Over the years I have seen some dear friends be marvelously blessed by God.Some of these same people had previously gone through what seemed to be a series of incredibly trying times. They had faced a lot of difficulty, had been deeply disappointed, and hadn’t seen the fulfillment of their dreams and desires. From time to time, I would comment to my wife, Maria, “It will be so great to see them truly happy!” And the wonderful thing is, today nearly all of them are.

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01-09-2012
11 Steps to Stronger Faith
11 Steps to Stronger Faith

1. Spend quality time in God’s Word.1 Read it, listen to it, memorize it, meditate on it. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”2

 

2. Read accounts of divine intervention. Accounts of answered prayer, both in the Bible and in modern-day settings, put “skin” on God’s promised help. What He has done for others, He can do for you.

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01-09-2012
Reach for the Prize
Reach for the Prize

I don’t know how an elephant survives 22 months of pregnancy. I have been pregnant twice, and nine months is more than enough for me. For weeks I couldn’t wait for the baby to be born, but then when I was in the throes of labor it seemed there would be no end to my suffering.

About 30 minutes before Lisa, my second child, was born, I was ready to give up. But I held out just a little longer, and there she was—my reward!

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01-09-2012
How to Get God’s Answers to Your Prayers
How to Get God’s Answers to Your Prayers

Be right with God.

He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.—Proverbs 28:13

If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.—1 John 3:21

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01-09-2012
Optimism
Optimism

For the sorrowing every day is evil, for the joyous heart it is festival always.

—Proverbs 15:15 TJB

 

If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.
—John Heywood (1497–1580), English playwright and poet

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01-09-2012
Regaining Focus
Regaining Focus

Life is full of busy moments, tasks, and responsibilities that are each connected to jobs, studies, family, friends, orhome life. The moments turn into hours, which turn into days and weeks and years. It seems there is a never-ending stream of things to take care of. Then one morning, you wake up and feel at a loss. Where are you headed? It’s hard to keep a sense of direction when your vision is blurred.

This spiritual exercise can help you regain your focus. Sit down in a quiet place and follow the story of the blind man at Bethsaida:1

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01-09-2012
Troubled, Yet Not Distressed
Troubled, Yet Not Distressed

If you think you have troubles, consider My apostle Paul: He was whipped on five occasions and beaten with rods on another. He was stoned and left for dead. He was shipwrecked three times, and spent a night and a day in the deep. He went through perils at sea, perils in the wilderness, and perils in cities. He suffered at the hands of robbers, his own countrymen, strangers, and even those who wrongly thought they were acting for Me. He was imprisoned and deprived of basic needs many times.1

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