II Timothy 2:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
The spirit of fear comes as a result of the loss of control over negative thoughts. Negative thinking is not from God and is in opposition to faith. God has not given us the spirit of fear. Fear is a destroyer of success. Experience is a destroyer of faith. If we give up on faith by letting negatives torment our thinking, then fear takes control. When we fear the future, we become failures instead of the success God intends us to be.
In Genesis 1, the earth was created without form, void of life, and dark, then God moved and the earth came to life. In Genesis 2, God formed man from the dust of the ground, dust being that which is without form and void. Then God breathed, and man became a living soul. In my life, I was without God, empty, devoid of spiritual Light, the darkness reigning, then God moved, and New Life was breathed into me and I became an eternal soul.
God is in the business of taking nothing and making something out of it.
Don’t let the broken-heartedness of 2010 discourage you for 2011. There is always hope where there is God. Oust those negative thoughts from your thinking and don’t let fear destroy your hope for the future. When you feel empty and discouraged, and darkness is overwhelming you, take heart. Remember that God is in the business of making something out of nothing and New Life can spring forth from your life too. So look up, look forward and let your past build your future!
Everybody loves music, but young people especially love and need happy music. That is one reason they are so often drawn to music with a beat. It makes them feel good, and if they feel good, then they feel happy. If music does not have a rock beat (and ours doesn’t), then to gain their attention, it must appeal to their emotions and thus, to their heart (and ours does). When their heart is happy, then they are happy too. They will also listen to music that identifies with the mood they are in even if it is a bad mood, and they will do this rather than change the music to change a mood. For years, many Christian young people succumbed to listening to groups like Metallica when hurt or angry because all of the songs started off with hypnotically soothing music, then moved to an angry, blaring crescendo that fed their mood. The words of the songs then coached those kids to handle their anger and stress by cursing God, cursing other people or worse. How Satan uses music to accomplish his purposes in our young people’s lives! Because of this, our songs and the music has been chosen for the purpose of emotional appeal for a variety of moods and spiritual instruction for how to handle life. Teens do need good, Christ-honoring music that will feed their spirits but not take them down a road neither we nor they want them to go, but they are also picky. Not just anything appeals to them. Teens want music that they identify with, that appeals to their moods and music that satisfies even after being played over and over and over again.[wpsc_products category_url_name=’cds-in-mp3′]
Children love stories and children love to laugh! There is no greater way to reach down, grab a child’s heart and influence them for God and for right than through a story. When I was young, I loved to hear my dad tell stories of his childhood. I would beg to hear them again and again. I learned character, tenacity and practical thinking skills from my dad’s stories. A story will stick in a person’s mind and run through their imagination forever. What a wonderful tool God has given us to influence the minds of children and in such a fun and palatable way. My grandchildren never tire of hearing stories. One will start, “Tell us a story, Noni,“ then the others will start chiming in, “Yeah, tell us a story!” If I don’t respond quickly enough, they will begin to clap their hands rhythmically and chant, “Tell us a story! Tell us a story!” As soon as I agree, even the rowdiest will automatically grow still and quiet, sitting in rapt attention, as I tell and retell story after story. I have told stories of my past, my husband’s past, my daughter’s past until I ran out of true stories and had to start making up stories to satisfy them. They only beg for more, and I love it. There is a story in the Bible of one mother who told so many stories to her young son about his great, great, great…grandfather that her son grew up wanting to be just like him and, in doing so, changed the course of a nation (II Kings 22-23). That boy was Josiah and his great grandfather was King David. Perhaps that is why God Himself tells so many stories in the Bible to us. We must never underestimate the power of a story, the power of influence in what may appear to be the most trivial form, or the power of one story’s influence on the mind of a child.
In the days to come, Hook Publications will be proudly presenting a lot more stories for children. Coming soon, for example, is: The Cornerstone Kids with their mystery solving skills and humorous antics,
Wise Willy the Detective Owl who will delight young readers as he explores the animal kingdom looking for evidence of God’s handiwork in all of God’s creation, and
The Princess of Palmyra which combines adventure with virtue and values as a young princess and boy gypsy set out to rescue her parents from kidnappers.
So stay tuned and connected for these stories and more![wpsc_products category_url_name=’for-children’]
My most important victory did not come on a baseball diamond, a basketball court, or a football field. After spending all of my teenage years competing, winning and sometimes losing, I had developed the belief that I could do anything I wanted to do if I wanted to badly enough. I might not be able to do as well as some, but I could always do better than I was doing. I could increase my speed and agility if that would bring the desired results. I learned that through determination and desire, I could do whatever I wanted to do.
I felt I could, in some sense, control my destiny.
This direction in life seemed to bring me everything a person could want. I had friends, popularity and recognition. To those around me, I had everything going for me. My life appeared to be wonderful. Anything I wanted to do, I could do. Anything I wanted to change, I could change. Every situation I could control, I controlled. One would think that life couldn’t get any better.
Friends, travel, excitement, adventure – what more could a person ask? Still, I was miserable!
What more could I have wanted? Purpose, that’s what! I wanted to know my purpose in life. Someday I would finish college. The playtime would be over. Life would soon consist of working to eat, eating to live, and living so I could go back to work. I felt there had to be more to life than that – I needed a purpose for my existence.
When I was walking across campus one day, a former all-pro football player stopped me. I didn’t know him at the time, but I could tell that he was an athlete. (This wild, mean pro football player had gotten saved and had become a preacher.) He grabbed me by my freshman football jacket as I strode toward history class and literally lifted me off the ground. With my feet dangling in midair, he growled at me words that I have never forgotten.
He said, “Do you know if you are going to Heaven when you die?”
I thought the guy was crazy, but I decided to humor him because he was so huge!
“I’ll go wherever you want me to go, man!” I replied.
As I went to my dorm room that night, his words haunted me. What would happen to me if I died? I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to think about death. Thinking about death bothered me. For the first time in my life, there was something I could not control – something I could not change. I could not stop Death. At first, I became angry; I was angry that I ever had to be born if I had to die. Then I became frightened because there was something I could not alter.
This process of life that ended in death was out of my control.
All my life, if I needed to get stronger, I got stronger. If I needed more speed, I learned to run faster. If I needed to pass a test, I studied harder. If I was in the boxing ring, I refused to go down. But now I was fighting an opponent that I could not defeat. My strength, speed, agility, abilities, intelligence, desire and determination were ineffective.
Nothing could help me avoid death. I had to die. What would happen to me? I didn’t want to go to an eternal Hell.
Late one evening, I was going out to a party, as I had done many nights before. Almost every night I would visit a different place, but the party, the music, the lights, and the people were always the same. Everyone was searching for joy and happiness, searching for fun, searching for someone who cared that they existed. I was reaching for the door handle when something inside of me said, “It’s no use.
There’s nothing out there but emptiness.”
I stopped, turned around, walked back to my bed and sat down, putting my head in my hands. I felt hopeless until I looked up and noticed a little New Testament Bible on a shelf beside me. Someone had given it to me one day as I had walked across campus. I had grown up around church, so people had given me Bibles, before, but I had never paid much attention to them. I decided to read it.
I flipped through a few pages and tried to understand what it was saying. But nothing made sense to me. I gave up and was putting the Bible back on the shelf when it fell open to the back page. I took one more look.
There on that last page, I saw the greatest story that has ever been told. I saw for the first time the Roman’s Road plan of salvation.
Verses of Scripture from the book of Romans had been printed in the back of that Bible along with a short explanation for each verse that simply told how a person could go to Heaven when he died. While sitting on my bed in my dorm room at 10:00 p.m. on November 8, 1975, I read:
In Romans 5:12, it says that because we are sinners, we must one day die. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” I read that the death of which that verse spoke was not just dying and going to the grave, but separation from God for ever and ever in a lake of fire. That was the punishment for our sins.
Then I read in Romans 6:23 the best news I could have read. The Bible also said that Jesus Christ paid the price for my sin, a price I could not have paid myself unless I paid for it in Hell; Jesus bought Heaven for me. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He paid the sin debt for me.
All I needed to do was trust Christ for eternal life. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I read that whosoever meant anybody, and anybody included me. I also realized a precious promise from God Himself. He said that I “shall” be saved if I trust Christ – not hope to be or might be, but shall be saved. That is a promise from God, and God cannot lie; therefore, if a person trusts Christ as his Saviour, then God must save him from Hell.
Wouldn’t you like to know where you would spend eternity if you were to die? I knelt beside my dorm bed that night and prayed this prayer, “Lord, I know I’m a sinner and don’t deserve to go to Heaven, but I don’t want to die and go to Hell. Please forgive me. I’m trusting You tonight as my Saviour and nothing else. Amen.”
The Bible says that “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) I trusted Christ. I know I am on my way to Heaven. I don’t have to be afraid any more. I’ve joined a team of champions led by the greatest Coach of all. My most important victory was won through Christ. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of God’s winning team, too?
It is one thing to know there is a God; It’s another to know the God that is.
If you just accepted Christ as your personal Saviour, please let us know so we can rejoice with you.