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20. New You

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dare to dream



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Beth could hardly believe she had reached 225 pounds. 




Beth had never been able to stick to a diet. Hardly able to walk, she’d never felt motivated to exercise either. Over the years she had moved from small to extra-large clothing sizes, periodically having no choice but to purchase a new wardrobe. She could hardly believe she had reached 225 pounds. At a medical check-up, her long-time family doctor looked at her gravely and said, “The tests confirm what I’d suspected. You have diabetes. You are overweight and out of shape. Beth, you’ve got to get control of your life—now!”


The probable medical outcomes for Beth if she continued her past lifestyle included stroke, blindness, kidney failure, circulatory problems, and even amputation of limbs. Beth was devastated, feeling that she’d been given a death sentence. When she arrived home, she automatically headed for the refrigerator for some “comfort food” when she ran into her husband. “What did the doctor tell you?” he asked.


“No more ice cream, sweets, potato chips, Cokes—all the things I like,” she admitted in tears. Realization hit. A new lifestyle change was vital.


It wasn’t easy. The whole family had a council and decided to join Beth on her new healthy-living journey. The first hurdle they tackled was diet. They decided that the easiest way to avoid eating junk food was to not buy it in the first place. The decision was: no more unhealthy, high-calorie, weight-buster snacks and desserts to tempt Beth and the family. Now when they opened the refrigerator, they found ready-cut vegetables instead of desserts and fat foods—and they were all the better for it!


Knowing that daily exercise was essential to Beth’s health, her husband bought her an exercise bicycle. (If she had been in another country it might have been a regular bicycle.) The next morning, Beth grudgingly began to use it. She was so out of shape that after a few minutes pedaling at a low setting, she was exhausted and gave up in defeat. While she sat on her soft recliner, winded and sweating, an inner voice seemed to speak to her: “Beth, you don’t have to lose all the extra pounds at once. Take them off pound by pound, minute by minute, step by step.” After a few reflective thoughts, she returned to the bicycle with fresh determination. I will spend the next five minutes of my life pedaling this bicycle, she thought. I’ll stick with my diet just one more meal. She also decided to eat less at each meal.


This new determination and way of looking at diet and exercise helped. All Beth had to do was make the right choices for just one more exercise session, one more meal. Sure enough, her daily cycling and better eating habits started to pay off. At her next doctor’s appointment, she weighed in 17 pounds (7.7 kg) lighter! She started to feel energized, and for the first time in her life she was in control. Beth felt like a changed person, with new dreams for a new healthy future. So did her family, who were tagging along with her, improving their lifestyle.


Overweight and obesity are advancing at epidemic rates in many countries and are major causes of diabetes and other high-risk diseases. Millions who are aware of this universal health risk are moving toward changing their eating and exercise habits and becoming new, healthier persons like Beth. It is a choice.


Becoming a new person


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Becoming a New Person


If you are like most people, you’ll probably have to admit that right now, at this moment, you are not the person you want to be. Maybe you’ve somehow “settled” for the person you are, come to terms with what you see as “reality,” and given up on the kind of life you wanted to live. Let’s see if we can help you.


Getting out of the comfort zone

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The challenge of getting out of our comfort zone



Why don’t we make changes in our lifestyle or develop useful skills even though it is our desire? On New Year’s Day we may write resolutions for new life practices: stop smoking, exercise five days a week, cut out afternoon snacks, or—the most popular resolution—go on a diet. Perhaps on any day of the year we may be impressed to change, to get out of our comfort zone, to look for a better job, to pursue higher education, or to volunteer in our local community. Perhaps we have a deep desire to do something no one has done before, something that seems totally impossible. Many have the desire to start a new spiritual journey with God. So with these desires, what keeps us from going forward to higher and higher levels of accomplishment?




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What are the obstacles that seem to be blocking us from accomplishing what we want to accomplish?



Could they be such barriers as not enough self-control, or thoughts of “I’m OK as I am,” “I enjoy the status quo”? Might it be that you fear you can’t change, don’t have emotional energy to make a change, that you might fail, or it just takes too much effort to change? What might keep you from making changes you desire?


Are you aware that habitual thought patterns may impede you from reaching your potential? What is it that really keeps you from going forward, doing the impossible, and accomplishing whatever in your inmost soul you want to do?



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Ed was a heavy smoker who came to Mark Finley for help. After smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for years, he now wanted to quit for his health’s sake. Pastor Mark encouraged Ed to ask God for victory over his smoking habit. As they knelt with the cigarettes in front of them on the floor, Mark encouraged Ed to pray in faith that God would free him of his habit. Ed began to pray, “Lord, You know I am a weak person and that smoking has a grip on me. I just can’t quit smoking. It’s just too difficult for me to—”


Suddenly Mark interrupted Ed. “Stop praying like that! You are going to be worse off after this prayer than you are now. You are convincing yourself that you will never have victory over smoking and that God isn’t able to help you stop. The Bible says, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’ ”[1]


Then Mark told him to begin praying again, and this time Ed prayed differently.


“Lord, I know I am weak but You are powerfully strong. You made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, and I know You can help me with this bad habit. Your power is stronger than my cravings for this tobacco. Please deliver me!”


And God did! By the grace of God, Ed was set free. All his cravings for cigarettes were gone! For some smokers the miracle is instant, for others it takes time, but God is there giving strength for victory in response to sincere prayer.[2]



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What was the obstacle that was keeping Ed from the victory he desired?


Blockers to becoming the New You

            Ed wanted to quit smoking and did something about it. He asked for the help of Mark Finley and God, even though he feared change was impossible. Fear can block the path to successfully accomplishing important goals and be an obstacle to success. We have good news!


How can I conquer fear?



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How can I conquer fear?




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The Bible reveals to us how we can conquer fear.

“When I am afraid, I will trust You; I will not fear. In God I trust, I will not be afraid.”

                       Psalms 56:3,4





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“Perfect love casts out fear.”  1 John 4:18

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”             

2 Timothy 1:7



These Bible verses are for us and are a tool for change. We do not need to fear when challenges face us and we have to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone. We can go forward in peace to higher and higher levels with God’s help. He is there to assist us to be all we can be and sees in us a greater potential than we are able to see in ourselves.


Notice in these verses the relationship with God, who helps clear the way for us to become a New Person. God is there to encourage us to make good choices and do the impossible. He will remove the fear that blocks our progress. One person who has fearful thoughts immediately prays, “Lord, take away the fear. I choose to trust You.” And God answers her prayer.


Biological blockers



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Biological factors that block us from becoming a New You



Biological factors may block you from becoming a New You. Our physical health impacts our mind and may affect our choices. Factors involved may be: insufficient sleep, nutritional deficiencies, insufficient exercise and fresh air, and inadequate water intake. Perhaps you need to take certain supplements. Vitamin B complex, and especially vitamin B1 (thiamine), helps keep our nerves calm, memories keen, and our brains thinking straight. Fortunately vitamin B is readily available from eating whole grains. Deficiencies in vitamin B (thiamine) can cause memory problems, mood swings, irritability, and confusion.[3]


A combination of nutritious foods and appropriate supplements helps the brain, as do sufficient exercise, water, and fresh air. All of these help us to improve our emotions, choice making, and total health.


“As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.”[4]


Negative thinking and emotional blockers


We have good news!



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The human brain has the power to rise above emotional moods. Negative thought patterns produce negative emotions and emotionally induced illnesses.


A person may be in a “bad mood” and not make good choices because of some chemical imbalance in the brain. However, if that person decides to have victory over negative thinking, he can rise above emotional moods by choice.


One family educator said we can smile even though the heart be sad.[5] Thoughts can create moods. Good positive thoughts can produce good moods. You can try self-talk like this: I will not let circumstances put me in a bad mood. I will make right choices that will help me be all that I can be with God’s help.


The human brain has a God-given ability not only to generate thoughts but also exercise will-power to accept, reject, act on or not act on good or bad thoughts. You can still be a New You, make wise choices, and be the person you always wanted to be. You are the architect of your life.

One famous writer said:



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“Oh that every one might realize that he is the arbiter of his own destiny!  Your happiness for this life, and for the future, immortal life lies with yourself.”


God’s makeover of Zacchaeus

Never underestimate the power of a divine appointment that changes your life—that changes you to a new person.


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Jesus comes to Zacchaeus’ house




The Gospel of Luke tells of a shrewd businessman named Zacchaeus who seemed to have it all. He was the local tax collector, and rumor had it that all the money he took in didn’t necessarily make it to the government treasury. He probably owned a large and comfortable house and a hefty bank account. Yet, even though he was wealthy, Zacchaeus felt something was missing in his life. Here is his story in The Living Bible:


















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As Jesus was passing through Jericho, a man named Zacchaeus…tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds. So he ran ahead and climbed into a sycamore tree beside the road, to watch from there.









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When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zaccaeus and called him by name!  ‘Zacchaeus!’ He said.  ‘Quick! Come down! For I am going to be a quest in your house today!’  Zacchaeus hurriedly clibed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy” Luke 19:1-6.“







Jesus announced,




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“Today salvation [healing of brokenness] has come to this house” -Luke 19:9, NIV




Zacchaeus was so moved by Jesus’ offer of friendship that he repented of his dishonest ways and dedicated himself to helping the poor. He repaid four times as much money to each person he had overcharged for taxes to ensure he had made everything more than right.


Zacchaeus found a new dimension to his life after Jesus came to his house. One of the meanings of the ancient word for “salvation” is “to be made whole.” Wholeness had been restored to Zacchaeus’ home. He became a new person. What was so exciting about this was that when Jesus came to his house, the whole family changed. And that’s what WIN! Wellness Homes of Hope and Health is all about: bringing wholeness to the family, mending brokenness, and restoring its members to healthy relationships and right principles of living. In essence, it is fulfilling the lingering, unfulfilled dream. God had a makeover dream for Zacchaeus, and the time had come for a transformation in his life.




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When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zaccaeus and called him by name!  ‘Zacchaeus!’ He said.  ‘Quick! Come down! For I am going to be a quest in your house today!’  Zacchaeus hurriedly clibed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy” Luke 19:1-6.“





God is a dreamer

Let’s examine some Bible characters God had special plans for before they were conceived. Some of the parents dedicated them to God before they were even born. Ultimately each of these discovered God’s big, unimaginable dream for their lives.



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Recall a time when you had a divine appointment that changed your life and helped to make you a new person.  Did it inspire you with a new dream?  How?  Share your story with someone.







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God had a dream for


 - John the Baptist

 - Jeremiah

 - Samuel




Before John was conceived, Gabriel, the highest angel, came from heaven and appeared to Zachariah and announced to this aged priest that a son would be born to him.[6] He told him what to name the child and what work this son would perform—announcing to the nation the beginning of the ministry of Jesus.


It happened just that way. God’s dream became the dream of Zachariah and his wife, Elizabeth, and ultimately became the dream of their son. Even though, later on, John died alone in a prison, he fulfilled God’s dream. Jesus paid him the highest tribute ever given to mortals when He said, “Among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.”[7]


The Bible prophet Jeremiah lived in one of the most difficult times in the history of a nation. He was needed to encourage and guide the people in a time of invasion, destruction, and exile. At the beginning of his work, God said, “ ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.’ ”[8] God had a dream for Jeremiah and announced it to him personally. It became his dream.


Hannah discovered God’s dream. She had been childless and pleaded fervently that God would bless her and her husband with a son. She made a vow and dedicated her unborn child to theLord for all the days of his life. When he was born she named him Samuel, meaning “God heard” or “requested of God.” As a mere child Samuel heard God calling him, and the third time he heard the voice, coached by Eli the high priest, he responded, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”[9] Progressively he became the kind of new person God wanted him to be. Ultimately God used him to appoint the first two kings of Israel. Under divine direction Samuel founded the school system that contributed to saving the nation from downfall for half a millennium. God’s dream became Hannah’s dream, and through Samuel’s long and fruitful life he fulfilled that dream.




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When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zaccaeus and called him by name!  ‘Zacchaeus!’ He said.  ‘Quick! Come down! For I am going to be a quest in your house today!’  Zacchaeus hurriedly clibed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy” Luke 19:1-6.“





I was born to Czechoslovakian parents in the little town of Rosenberg, Texas. I loved my parents dearly and knew they had immense love for me. During the Great Depression, when I was nine, my mother and father died six weeks apart, leaving my brother and me orphaned. Our cousin Millie gave up a good job to come care for us in our home. She gifted me with a happy childhood and had a positive spiritual influence on my life. Cousin Millie believed in me so much that she later sold a house to pay for part of my college education. She wanted me to be prepared with life skills and to do something special for God.


Once when I returned home for a college vacation, I visited our small church, which also had contributed to my journey in becoming a new spiritual person. While I was there, one of my mother’s friends shared a story about my mother, Antonia. Before my birth she had prayed dedicating me to God as Hannah had dedicated Samuel for the Lord’s service. Throughout my life I have sensed the evidence of God’s leading in a powerful way. I know that God is answering my mother’s prayers, which are still encircling heaven’s throne and continue to be part of God’s dream for my life.


Even though I was handicapped with learning disabilities caused by extremely high temperatures from scarlet fever, God helped me progress in my educational pursuits. By God’s grace I completed a doctoral degree in education. Like Samuel’s, my life has been spent in the Lord’s service. God led me to minister in Christian education as an elementary multi-grade school teacher, a supervisor of elementary education, and a professor at Andrews University.


My husband John and I have been instrumental in training thousands of family life and healtheducators in many areas worldwide. At this time we are convinced that our WIN! Wellness Homes of Hope and Health ministry is not so much our dream but rather a heaven-born idea. It is God’s dream for us to help people to live healthier, happier, holier and even longer, and for each precious individual to be transformed into a New Person fulfilling God’s dream for them. Before I was born, God’s dream became my mother’s dream, which became my dream. I keep praying for God to use me to continue to be the new person I can be at my present stage of life. My greatest desire is that His dream for me will be totally fulfilled.




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Your dream




The greatest dreams don’t originate inside you; the life-changing dreams come from the God of the universe. Our success in life will depend upon the degree to which we discover God’s dream for us and our faithfulness in pursuing it once we have discovered God’s plan. God tailors the dream to our own uniqueness and how we can contribute to the world in some special way, since only He knows just what things we can accomplish through His power. But if we don’t discover God, we won’t discover God’s dream. And because of God’s gift of choice we don’t have to respond to His desires for our lives. It is our choice. God’s dream for each of us is not a once-in–a-lifetime event, but a continual growth in becoming a New You under His training and polishing.



His mother’s one-night stand with a New York City jazz musician was the beginning of life for baby John.[10] He was born to Rosie, who one day kissed him and his three-year-old sister Val goodbye, left them at the babysitter’s, and disappeared from their lives. From the age of three months, John grew up knowing only Momma Haynes as his mother.


Papa and Momma Haynes brought up little John in their Christian home, giving him their heart full of love and a foundation for life. They taught him to love Jesus, and at the age of nine he was baptized. But with all the big-city temptations during the teen years, John lost his way and became a “party guy,” bringing pain to Papa and Momma Haynes. Satan wanted control of John’s life and was successful. During his teen years John found himself in harm’s way many times; he was held up at gun-point twice, was almost run over, and narrowly escaped death in a car accident. Papa and Momma Haynes continued to pray for their boy during those difficult years, and their prayers were answered. Later in life, John did return to the Lord.


As John Lomacang matured, it was evident he had musical talent. After he got married, he competed in a Christian talent search contest and ended up in the top ten finalists. When his name was mentioned on the radio, his aunt, whom he had never met, happened to be listening to the program. Because the name Lomacangis not common, she contacted him. John was moved to tears when he met his Aunt Teresa. A few days later he and his sister Val wept with joy when their long-lost mother came down the ramp as the last passenger on the plane coming in from the Virgin Islands. At last they were not alone in life. For 25 years John had dared to dream of finding his biological mother, and now he held her in his arms! His mother Rosie was an alcoholic and had lived a turbulent life. Finally John’s search for his mom was over.With love, John and his mother held each other in a long embrace.


John had another dream. He longed to use his musical talent to help those who had lost their way in life to discover meaning. He joined the Heritage Singers and traveled with the group across the United States and around the world, sharing music and bringing people to a better life. He became a pastor and served in 19 countries.


This dedicated man has led many people to live transformed lives, but the transformation that made him the happiest occurred just after he was ordained as a pastor. The first person he baptized was his own mother. Through the power of Christ, Rosie had given up all her addictions and embarked upon a new spiritual life—as a totally different person.


John says,




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Is there any hope for someone born in the ghetto, unclaimed by mother and father? Jesus says,

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”[11] Yes, our names are “tattooed” on Jesus’ hands. We belong to Him. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know your real name for years. You may have strayed away, but a relentless love will pursue you, inviting you to come to the foot of the cross and become a new person—a New You.


Just suppose that John Lomacang, after being abandoned by father and mother, never found a relationship with Papa and Momma Haynes. Suppose he just grew up on the streets of New York City and never found anyone in life who loved him unconditionally. Would the end of the story have been the same? It’s true that for a time he ran with the wrong crowd, but he had something that kept drawing him back to his foundational training.


Somebody loved him, somebody was praying for him, somebody cared.


God had a dream plan for John Lomacang to share his musical talents that have touched the world through his ministry and through 3ABN television, as a singer and a presenter of the Jesus Story in the Gospels. He has shared the message of how Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.



There are times that Father God has to do a makeover job before His dream plan is carried out to its fullest in our lives. He did that for Abram who became Abraham, Jacob who became Israel, and Saul who became Paul, and He will do it for us today.


God’s dream plan for you today



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What are your present dreams?




Is God nudging you to do something special in your life for Him? Do you have a clue as to what it might be?

  • What great idea, dream, desire has been planted in your heart and mind?
  • What is God nudging you to do for Him and for yourself?
  • Are you ready for the faith journey into new challenges—new horizons, a New You?
  • Your makeover under God’s design can start at any age and any time. Are you ready?


By having a positive relationship with God, you start a new adventure. Go forward. When you follow a heaven-born idea, the dream unfolds.


Listen in the early morning hours as God whispers directions to you and reveals new dimensions of your dream.


Ray’s moment of inspiration

The day that began a chain of lifestyle choices was a monumental day for Ray. On this specific day, looking at a photograph of himself, Ray realized he was overweight, out of shape, and looked unkempt in his sloppy clothes. It did not make him very happy. He decided that no one else was to see the photo.


But then it hit him. Everyone sees me this way every day. This is the way I really look. Reality struck. I’m not taking care of my body. My life is out of control. I need to do something about it. I really don’t want to change, but . . . I have to.


Making this change would be a challenge, he realized. While thinking about adjusting his lifestyle, he saw that life is like a movie. If I could fast-forward to twenty years from now, what would I look like, what would I feel like, if I don’t change now? Will I be healthy, or ill like my parents? For the sake of my health and profession, the time has come for me to do something about this, starting today.


At that inspirational moment, Ray became aware that if he were to achieve his lifelong goals, he must improve his eating habits. While processing his thoughts he made a decision: I must be more disciplined in my daily choices. I can do it. I can break old patterns.


Ray decided to take action right away and started a new health improvement program—going to the gym to work out, eating healthy foods, drinking eight glasses of water a day, and being positive in his outlook. He ate less at mealtimes, avoiding lots of fats he had been accustomed to eating, and bit by bit the pounds came off. To get more exercise, Ray began taking walks each evening, regardless of the weather.


When he had a hard time eating in a healthy way and was backsliding on his diet plan, Ray took a nutrition class in his community. He began to focus on eating nutritious, healthy foods: fresh produce, no processed meats, more whole grains, fruits, and nuts. Ray struggled to vary his vegetables. His taste buds were not quite ready for the healthy greens, but he started eating a small quantity of them. When there was a celebration such as Grandma’s birthday party, he participated by eating small portions of sweets. Ray realized this new journey was for life and was an ongoing lifestyle commitment. He was in earnest about his makeover, which actually became his passion.


Finally, with his weight loss, new wardrobe, and trim haircut, Ray was ready for a job interview at a firm looking for a marketing consultant. And he got the job! His professional dreams and lifestyle goals were being realized, and he praised God, who had helped make his dreams come true.


Ray now had more energy, was healthier, happier, and enjoyed a keener mind. He was ready to go forward facing the new challenges of life. There are many stories just like Ray’s. Perhaps yours is one of them or will be.


God has a dream for all of us to reach our potential. However, research shows that many with high intelligence do not reach theirs: one-third attain high levels in their professional performance, one-third stay in the average range, and one-third are at a low level of contributing to society. Why? Did one-third give up? Were they willing to tolerate mediocrity? Were they not willing to stretch their powers and reach higher levels and get out of their comfort zone?


What will God do to make your dreams come true?

The short answer is: anything necessary.


What are your present dreams? To get a better education?To get a better job?To be more attractive? To improve your health by eating right and exercising daily? To be a more loving spouse?To improve a relationship with family and others? To meet other people’s needs? To serve the Lord?


Think back over your life, and no doubt you will see many instances where things “just worked out perfectly.”


If you start searching for your unique purpose in life with intentionality, you will see instances where God works behind the scenes to help you realize your dreams. He’ll put you in the right place at the right time. He’ll give you new knowledge and direct your path with His guidance. He will set up divine appointments with the right people. He will make a way when there is no way for the dream to come true—when everyone you know says, “Impossible.”



God’s storehouse for dreamers has infinite supplies—and limitless access! Sometimes we limit these blessings by not asking God for needed things, through our preference to remain in the status quo, doing the same things we have done for years. Have you noticed that God sometimes allows pressures to force us to move forward out of our comfort zone? Have you noticed that struggles and challenges strengthen our faith as we go forward? We move out of the safe zone and leap into the faith zone. We stretch our thoughts and our minds. This enlarges our abilities and skills. When we reach up high, miracles are ahead!




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Incredible miracles are waiting to come your way as you tap into the power from above.



God will guide as we go forward into the unknown.  Miracles start taking place. God has exciting things in store for us.  He helps us to improve our skills and even multiplies our talents as we go forward.  What surprises does He have for you?


There is much research indicating that a new lifestyle which includes exercising 30 minutes five to six times a week, drinking six to eight glasses of water daily, eating veggies and fruits and being a positive person, results in drastically improved health. It will probably prevent 50–80 percent of catastrophic diseases that otherwise would affect you. So why wait? Start on the New You journey by adopting a new lifestyle.


Most of us want to enjoy lifestyle victories. But it’s not our power that makes this happen—it is God’s power. If we do our best, God will do the rest. The changes may include being more interesting, being more kind, patient, and loving, being more hopeful and caring. The New You will want to take optimum care of this marvelous body God has given and to grow stronger in muscle, mind, and abilities.


God is the Dream Maker. Our relationship with Him ignites our dream.


God has big plans for your life. He is willing to give you the desires of your heart. God wants you to be the amazing person you dream of being. But remember that God won’t force an entrance into your life. He’s not going to have a telemarketer call you. You can’t charge the new dream to your VISA or American Express card. You can’t mend brokenness with MasterCard. That won’t happen. It is not a matter of buying something, but of befriending Someone in a personal relationship. His coming into your life depends on you opening the door every day to an exciting relationship with Him. The psalmist David says, “May He grant your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans.”[12]


Inside every person is a sense that she can be more than she is, and a driving desire to change. Redemption gives the free gift of restoration to the “you” that you can be—God’s New You!


The Barry Black story

Is there any hope for a child born in the ghetto to become a New You and be an agent to bring the Good News before legislative assemblies and presidents? Barry Black fought against the odds of poverty and kept becoming a New You in each phase of his life. He expected God to lead and guide him even when God was taking him out of his comfort zone into new territory. Barry kept being a New You every day, not by sitting back and doing nothing, but by learning all he could learn and being all he could be, even when others thought he would never make it.[13]


Born in inner-city Baltimore, in a home where the welfare check often ran out before the month ran out, young Barry learned what every caterpillar knows, that if you want to survive you’d better develop wings. The cockroaches that stalked the house at night terrorized him and his seven siblings. One looked as big as a shoe. “Filth and debris littered the streets. Drug dealers sold their wares on one corner; prostitutes sold theirs on the next.” “Crime, drugs, and poverty infected this environment.”


But within this toxic neighborhood, Barry’s mother, Pearline, provided a cocoon of safety, faith in God, and belief in each of her eight children. She would often repeat, “You are different, God’s child. Never forget that!” He vowed he would never forget he was God’s child, and he gave his life to God at the age of ten.


Barry learned that God grows gigantic oaks from little acorns. He learned that “we often miss opportunities because they come disguised as work.” He joined the navy as a chaplain. By working hard and trusting God, he was a blessing to the sailors whose lives he touched, especially in difficult times.


Some of Barry Black’s guiding life principles were: expect the unexpected; find blessings in affliction; take the less-traveled path; stay busy; harness prayer power; surprise people; face life’s challenges; match challenges with inner resources; take time to develop self-mastery. He also embraced diligence by following the guidelines in Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.” He purposed in his heart to do God’s will and to make the most of every moment of his life. Barry’s goal was to live in an ethical manner that prepared him for his future work. He felt integrity kept him from a lot of heartbreak and shame.




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Barry C. Black





Against the odds of race discrimination and prejudice against his minority church affiliation, Barry worked his way up the ranks and became the first African-American to be named a two-star admiral and the first African-American in the history of the navy to lead its Chaplain Corps.


And God had still bigger plans for Barry. As he cont

nued on the road less traveled, he was named Chaplain of the Senate of the United States in 2003, the only African-American ever to serve in that position. He dreamed big dreams, and God’s dreams for him came true.


For you to be a new person and become a New You is a challenge. It isn’t easy, but it’s worthwhile. It is our choice to make, but we don’t have to do it alone. A promise many of us can claim when the temptations of life are strong, tasks are difficult, or an impossible habit has to be broken, is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).


Many stories in the Bible are about peoplewho had serious faults and broke God’s commandments, including Jacob, Moses, Gideon, David, and Peter. But by God’s grace and His miraculous power, they left the old person behind and became a New Person for the glory of God. Doesn’t this bring hope to our hearts as we walk along our spiritual pathway of life? You also can choose a new direction.


The old is gone, new life begins

Are you struggling spiritually? Are the sins of society ruling your life? Are your vital forces going downhill because of bad choices? Do you need a miracle to get you into a safer environment or on the path to real, positive, healthful living? What you need is the guidance and help of your Forever Friend. You need Jesus. All you have to do is to open the door and invite Him into your life. The Bible says: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”



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The Bible says, “The old life is gone.  A new life has begun!”  2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT



That’s the real New You. “Old things have passed away; . . . all things have become new.” Will you accept Him now? Will you let Christ come into your life? He wants to be your Friend and to help you.


If you are beginning on a pathway to a New You and desire for God’s guidance, quietly tell Jesus that you choose Him as the Lord of your life, and ask Him to forgive your sins. Jesus will help you do a spiritual life makeover, which will start you on an exciting and exhilarating journey. Is that your choice?




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Our Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are the Dream Giver and the Dream Maker. We want to be new persons and submit all our dreams to You.




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You know what is best for us. We know You want to help us reach our potentials. Please help us to be more like You, choose a healthy lifestyle, and have positive relationships with our families and others.




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Change us so that we can be all that You want us to be as new persons and reach out in incredible ways to help others.




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Guide by Your victorious hand so that Your dreams for us may come true. In Jesus’ name, amen.




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Group Discussion

1. If you could suddenly wake up one morning and be the ideal person—a New You—what would you be like?

 2. What are your present personal dreams or goals? What can you do to make them a reality?







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3.  What experiences did you have when you started on your new spiritual journey with God? What changes did you make?

4.When you look at outstanding people you admire, what are the qualities they possess and which of these would you like to have?




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5. What are the obstacles or fears that are impeding you from taking the steps to being the person you would like to be?




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Personal Reflections

  1. Do you see yourself as valuable?  God does. What do you want Him to do for you so that you can be all you can be?  Tell him what it is.  Ask Him for a spiritual-makeover.
  2. What can you do today to begin making positive lifestyle choices?  Now become intentional and take action.




  • I will pursue a dream that has been in my mind for some time. It is ________________________________________________________________
  • Even though it is out of my comfort zone, I choose to go forward in the faith zone.



[1]. Matthew 7:7, 8, NKJV.

[2]. Mark Finley, Solid Ground (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2003), 398–399.

[3]. Nancy Schimelfpening, “Is It Depression or Bipolar Disorder,” Guide, May 29, 2006,

[4]. Proverbs 23:7.

[5]. See Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, 148.

[6]. See Luke 1:5–25, 57–80.

[7]. Luke 7:28.

[8]. Jeremiah 1:5.

[9]. 1 Samuel 3:10.

[10]. Adapted from John Lomacang, Abandoned but Not Alone. Nampa, ID: Pacific Press, 2002.

[11]. Isaiah 49:15, 16.

[12]. Psalm 20:4, NLT.

[13]. This section is adapted from Barry C. Black, Barry C. Black: From the Hood to the Hill: A Story of Overcoming. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.



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