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Activated October 2015

Making Improvements - October 2015

Changes and improvements are made one small step at a time. Find out how to get started and stay the course.
 

01-10-2015
The Challenge of Change
The Challenge of Change

For many people, coming to know and accept Christ is a life-changing event. For example, immediately after he met and talked with Jesus, Zacchaeus’ entire life was turned around.1 In a matter of days, Saul went from “threatening with every breath and eager to destroy every Christian”2 to preaching the gospel as the apostle Paul. More recently, many people have been known to be freed from addictions or other bad habits on the spot.

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01-10-2015
The Bookmark
The Bookmark

I’m sitting here staring at the side of my computer screen, where I’ve stuck one of the cutest little bookmarks I’ve ever owned. It has a picture of a mother hugging a little child, and a quote from Charles Dickens at the bottom: “It is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” When I read that quote, it thrilled me through and through. I resolved to use that bookmark for my next reading project. Unfortunately, I failed to immediately tuck the dear little bookmark safely away, and so it lay, halfway to greatness,...

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01-10-2015
Jewels of the Deep
Jewels of the Deep

Always on the lookout for something pretty, I noticed a small nugget of smooth glass as I walked along the beach. When it’s smooth and polished, an ordinary piece of glass seems precious, like something to be showcased in a beautiful wind chime, necklace charm, or the like. The ocean does the same thing to wood. A smoothed and polished piece of driftwood can be changed from a worthless branch to the material designer furniture and art are made from. Each piece of wood or glass that is smoothed by sand and water is unique, and some have even been...

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01-10-2015
Tears and Mends
Tears and Mends

When I was a child, my mother used to keep a pile of clothes to mend, mostly belonging to us kids, by the sewing machine, and she would patiently work on them every Saturday morning. I have many happy memories of sitting beside her and learning simple sewing and making doll dresses. But the most important thing she taught me there was one day when she said: “Life is like this mending I do every week. When something goes wrong, you fix it; then if something else tears, you mend it, and that is how you get along.”

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01-10-2015
Out of My Comfort Zone
Out of My Comfort Zone

Recently, I had the uneasy feeling that I needed a change, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. I had a nagging feeling, but I didn’t make much effort to do something about it.

Then my daughter Joanna invited me to a special exercise program that covers a variety of routines like toning, stretching, concentration, and meditation. I’m generally not very fond of group calisthenics and initially decided that I didn’t really want to try this out. I preferred to do my exercises alone in nature or at home, to ride my stationary bike, or work out...

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01-10-2015
Formula of 5—Spiritual Growth
Formula of 5—Spiritual Growth

He set himself to seek God ... and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.1

If you want to be physically fit, you have to eat right, exercise, and put some time and effort into building good physical habits. Similarly, if you want spiritual growth—if you want to be spiritually fit—it will require investing in a spiritual regimen.

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01-10-2015
Farewell to an Old Friend
Farewell to an Old Friend

My elderly mother was on the phone. “The next time you visit, would you mind looking in the garage? Your brother is helping clean it out, and he came across some of your old things.”

What childhood leftovers could possibly remain? When I arrived, there it was: a ponderous manual office typewriter, as sturdy as ever, but a little rusty from three decades of disuse. The sight brought back happy memories. My parents had bought it secondhand to reward me for passing an important exam at age 11. I’d taught myself to type and spent many hours during my teen years...

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01-10-2015
Turning Dreams into Reality
Turning Dreams into Reality

To one degree or another, just about all of us are unsatisfied with ourselves and our circumstances—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A certain amount of dissatisfaction is necessary if we’re ever going to make progress. To become all that we can be, we must dream of being more than we are. The problem is, too many of us stop there, in the dream stage. Why do you suppose that is?

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01-10-2015
One Man’s Trash
One Man’s Trash

When we lack faith, we miss miracles that are trying to be delivered to us. Life is a lot about having the faith to see possibilities that others might overlook. Take apple seeds, for example.  Most people throw away the core and seeds as worthless, but someone with faith as small as that seed might see in them a world of opportunity. 

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01-10-2015
Making It Happen
Making It Happen

It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.
Corrie ten Boom (1892–1983)

*

Alas for those who never sing, but die with all their music in them.
Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)

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01-10-2015
Upcycled!
Upcycled!

It never ceases to amaze me how Lidija, a dear friend of mine, can turn garbage into works of art. As a volunteer, she runs a day center called Koraci (Steps) and organizes art workshops for children, the elderly, the disabled, young people, housewives, etc.

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01-10-2015
In Need of a Makeover?
In Need of a Makeover?

There are countless people whose lives have been changed by an encounter with Jesus, both within and beyond the context of Bible history.

Paul is often rightly cited as an example of the power of Jesus to transform lives. He was a Pharisee (a member of an ancient Jewish religious group) who was so dead set against the followers of Jesus that he took it upon himself to launch a crusade for their imprisonment and in some cases death. 

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01-10-2015
Learning Equals Progress
Learning Equals Progress

Take a look at the natural world. Look at the plants as they sprout new leaves and the flowers as they blossom. Look at the little birds as they learn how to take flight for the first time. Look at the little kittens and puppies and how enthusiastic they are about each opportunity to explore and learn new things. Learning and growing makes the world beautiful, and it can make your life beautiful as well.

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