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For more of the story visit www.moreofthestory.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 16 24 40 46 64

Power to Overcome A Future Filled with Light Release Others, Release Yourself Who Are You? Beginning Life with Jesus

wit h Jesus

Jesus alone frees us to live the life we were created for. We don’t live for God to gain salvation; but now we live for God because of our salvation! We love God because he first loved us. Because we are unconditionally loved, forgiven, and freed by our heavenly Father, we can now say “yes” to whatever God wants for our life!

Here are a few things to help you on your new journey with Jesus:

GET WITH A GROUP Jesus had a close group of friends that shared his love for God. This is an example for us. We need friends who believe in Jesus. Together we come to know him better.

GO BY THE GUIDE Native American Teen Book of Hope (NAT) ISBN 978-­-­9480-­14-­ Copyright © 2013 by OneHope. www.onehope.net Scriptures used in this publication are taken from the Contemporary English Version and arranged in a Bible story format. Copyright © 1995 by the American Bible Society. Used by permission. www.americanbible.org www.bibles.com Text quoted directly from the Bible is in bold.

Chapter and verse references show where you can read the full story in the Bible.

Read the Bible; it is God’s Word and it reveals his path. Before reading, ask God to help you understand and apply what you are reading.

GET IN TOUCH WITH JESUS Talk to Jesus every day. You can talk to him anytime and anywhere. God not only hears our prayers, but also answers them. He delights in listening to you. The Bible teaches us to go to Jesus for many reasons: • Praising/thanking him • Talking to him about our concerns • Confessing sins to him • Praying for the needs of people around you Remember: God loves you and he has forgiven you! No matter what is happening in your life, God has a plan for you. He has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”

(Hebrews 13:5)

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Walking in Circles Can our lives change for the better? Why do we exist? Why do I feel hopeless? Will things ever get better in my family and community? Will this depression ever lift? How long will we pretend everything is OK? Why do we sometimes wish for death? Why do our people suffer from the highest rates of suicide, death, and addiction? If you have ever asked yourself these questions, you are not alone! You are part of a whole generation of Native young people who are trying to cope in an unstable society. Many of us come from cultures that teach about walking in harmony or walking in beauty. But how many of us have truly seen

harmony where we grew up? What happened? What went wrong? A group of people from other lands came in search of freedom, and took away our freedoms in the process. Now families are hurting each other. It seems like things are always going wrong. This book may not give you the answers to everything in life, but it will show your greatest chance at life transformation.

The Creator has chosen a path for everything he has made. He has in mind how people should live together. He does not want people to hurt themselves with drugs and alcohol. When people do not know the Way of the Creator, they do not know the proper, respectful, and loving way to treat what God has made. Many thousands of Native people have found that Jesus always keeps his promises. Jesus has broken down the barriers between people and now brings them together in peace.

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What is the Bible, Anyway? The Bible is God’s spoken words written down. The Bible is one large book, but it’s really made up of 66 individual books. It took sixteen hundred years and more than forty people to write it! It contains poems, letters, songs, historical documents, and more. The Bible really is one big story. It’s about God pursuing a relationship with humans. Through reading the Bible, we can get to know God.

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Wait a minute! You may be thinking, “Great. This is another attempt to convert us to religion.” But that is not the case. We are Natives who have encountered Jesus, though we all come from different tribes. Jesus did not come to set up a religion that would destroy our people. He is the Creator, who took on human flesh to reveal his plan to set things back in order. He came to make us alive again! Jesus said: I am the gate. All who come in through me will be saved. Through me they will come and go and find pasture. A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest. I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep. We must encounter him for our lives to be changed. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” This book will give you the truth, and the Creator of the universe will use that truth to reach you. When you encounter Jesus, your life will never be the same. J o h n 1 0 :9 - 1 1 , 8:32

Take a few minutes to write some thoughts that come to you when you hear these words: God, Jesus, Bible, Religion, Church, and Christianity.

Now put these things aside so you can receive what the Creator has for you. Sometimes people who claim to be like the Creator act in ways that make it harder to see the truth of who he is. And we do not want you to miss what God has for you to find! This story begins with what the Creator planned for us, how things got messed up, and how our lives can be put right once again.

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In the beginning God created everything and called it GOOD. He separated the day from the night, and the land from the ocean. He made the plants and trees, and then he filled the sky with stars. He made creatures to fill the ocean, the sky, and the dry land. Then he made the first human being by breathing life into the dust that he had formed into a body. The Creator filled all of creation with his presence. And he made humans to be like himself! Before we separated into different cultures, we began as one race in Adam and Eve. At the beginning of everything, there was no death or anything bad. Imagine having no negative experiences! The first two humans knew that freedom. They enjoyed a constant flow of beauty and relationship with the Creator. That’s hard for us to imagine in our world of suffering. Death, evil, and bad things were never meant for us!

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Perfection Disrupted You may wonder, “What went wrong?” Adam and Eve did the one thing the Creator told them not to do. That’s when death entered and began to decay the world. Along with death came evil and sin. All of creation became infected with this disease of sin . God had created humans so that they could live in relationship with him. Adam and Eve lived in perfect union with God and each other. God gave them one rule. He said, “You may eat fruit from any tree, except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die.” God has an enemy named Satan. Satan was once thrown out of heaven for rebelling against God. Satan wanted to hurt God’s perfect world, so he made an evil plan to tempt Adam and Eve to disobey God. Satan went into the garden as a snake and told Eve that the forbidden fruit would open her eyes to be like God. She and Adam both ate the fruit. Right away they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked. Then they sewed fig leaves together to make something to cover themselves. Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees. G e n e s i s 2 :1 6 - 1 7; 3 :1 - 8

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d The Lord called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?” The man answered, “I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!” “How did you know you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?” Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit, and Eve blamed the snake for tricking her. God turned to the snake and said, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all the animals. From now on, you will crawl on your belly. There will be war between you and the woman, between your descendants and hers. One of her descendants will crush your head, but you will only bruise his heel.” God made clothes for Adam and Eve out of animal skins. Because of their sin, he sent them out of the garden. God put angels at the entrance of the garden to stop Adam and Eve from returning. G e n e s i s 3 :9 - 2 4

Sin caused separation from God’s presence and made Adam and Eve spiritually dead and broken. This sin disease by the first two humans has filled the whole earth with a cycle of suffering. Our tribes were oppressed by people who were trying to escape oppression. Think about all the bad things that happen in our lives and in our families. Take a moment to think about what is broken in your life and the lives of people who are close to you.

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When God became a Man The GOOD NEWS is that the Creator had an amazing plan to restore his relationship with humans and with all of creation. This restoration would come through the one he promised to send to crush Satan’s head. Everyone born since Adam and Eve has been born into sin. And

sin leads to death and separation from God, who is

perfect and loving. Only the Creator could make things right! So he sent his only Son, Jesus, to earth. Jesus was born of a woman, just like God had promised to Adam and Eve. Yet even though Jesus was a real human, his birth was a miracle because he was also God.

Jesus was born to the Tribe of Judah, a brown-skinned and darkhaired people. Though he did no wrong, he willingly died in our place because the consequence of our sin is death. He bore the weight of all of our sin. God made a way for all sin to be forgiven. There is a lot of difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gift. That one sin led to punishment. But God’s gift made it possible for us to be acceptable to him, even though we have sinned many times. Death ruled like a king because Adam had sinned. But that cannot compare with what Jesus Christ has done. R o m a n s 5:1 6 - 1 7 a

Because he had never sinned, death could not keep Jesus in the grave. He defeated sin and death, and he is alive again now!

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When we trust in Jesus, we are made into a new creation. Even if you see your life as a mess, you are not

a mistake. Jesus restores the relationship that our Creator had for us from the beginning. In this relationship, we know his presence, we experience peace and hope, we are healed from the brokenness in our lives, and we find our true purpose and identity. And we get to spend eternity with God, the Creator, in heaven! When you ask Jesus to take over your life, he sends his Holy Spirit to dwell inside you. That is where the power comes to be renewed and healed, and to walk in freedom. Jesus came to give us freedom and heal all who have been corrupted by sin, death and the devil. This book deals specifically with problems that have held down our Native people for generations. God called these things strongholds. St rongholds are things that have had a strong hold on us, keeping us from the life we were created for. Strongholds include mindsets, attitudes, and patterns that develop in our lives, based upon the environment we grew up in.

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W h o i s Je s u s?

Jesus was the Creator, walking the earth in flesh. John wrote this about Jesus:

In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us. J o h n 1 :1 , 1 :1 4, 1 4 :6

He came so that every tribe on earth would know about God’s kingdom and the Creator’s pathway. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! Without me, no one can go to the Father.” His life was the example for all tribes on earth to follow. The way Jesus lived was different from the cycle of brokenness that we have known. The Creator loved us enough to come show us the ONE way to him: through Jesus. As we look deeper into Jesus’ life, we will find the truth that sets us free to be who we were created to be. The transformation that we seek comes by taking the lies that chain us and replacing them with the truth of Jesus. The next section of this book takes us into areas of Jesus’ life that will transform ours.

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Nothing is Impossible A young woman named Mary lived in a town called Nazareth. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. An angel appeared to her and said, “Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, and his kingdom will never end.” Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not married!” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. Nothing is impossible for God!” An angel also appeared to Joseph. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. Everyone had to go to their own home town to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s home town, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family. L u k e 1 :3 0 - 3 3 , 3 4 - 3 7; M at t h e w 1 :2 0 - 2 1 ; L u k e 2 :3 - 4

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Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to a boy and named him Jesus. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn. That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.” Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said: “Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.” After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay. When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. Everyone listened and was surprised. But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant. L u k e 2 :5- 1 5a ; 2 :1 6 - 1 9

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Father's Approval

Years later, a man known as John the Baptist started preaching in the desert. He said, “Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here.” John was the one the prophet Isaiah was talking about, when he said, “In the desert someone is shouting, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord! Make a straight path for him.’ “ John said, “I baptize you with water so that you will give up your sins. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Jesus went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John kept objecting and said, “I ought to be baptized by you. Why have you come to me?” Jesus answered, “For now this is how it should be, because we must do all that God wants us to do.” Then John agreed. So Jesus was baptized. And as soon as he came out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.” M at t h e w 3 :1 - 3 , 1 1 , 1 3 - 1 7

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Hungry in the Desert God had promised to send one who would crush the head of Satan. It would soon be evident that Jesus would be that one. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him. After Jesus had gone without eating for forty days and nights, he was very hungry. Then the devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, tell these stones to turn into bread.” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say: ‘No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.’” Next, the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. The Scriptures say: ‘God will give his angels orders about you. They will catch you in their arms, and you won’t hurt your feet on the stones.’” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’” Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power. The devil said to him, “I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus answered, “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him. M at t h e w 4 :1 - 1 1

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Power to Overcome God has unlimited power to change anything. Nothing is impossible for him. In superhero movies there is always a good superhero with a super power fighting an evil nemesis. Jesus—God in human form—proved his unlimited power by defeating death, Satan, and sin on the cross. He has also helped people all around the world to defeat things that nearly destroyed them. Jesus is the great cycle breaker. Once our tribes were free in this land, and had a special connection to creation. But many aspects of our society were broken when we were forced to live differently. This wounding set negative cycles in motion, such as alcoholism, abuse, pain, and addiction. We tend to hide our deepest pain so no one can reach it. But Jesus made us and knows how to heal us if we will let him. It’s time to confront the pain of the past, because until you do it will put chains on your future.

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Once, a man broke his arm and the bone was sticking out. The doctor in his small community was about to leave to go on vacation, so when he arrived at the ER he had two choices. He could either have the doctor put his arm back in place without numbing the pain, or he could lose the use of his arm for the rest of his life. He chose to have the doctor reset it. It hurt him at that moment, but afterward he had full use of his arm again. Like him, we can either stuff the pain and be crippled by it or we can face it and let Jesus heal it. It may hurt briefly as it stirs the fear and feelings that are attached, but it feels so good let Jesus heal the wound.

Healing the pain of the past:

1

2

Go back to the incident and tell Jesus how it made you feel. Invite Jesus to come into that place and heal the wound.

3

If this pain has caused you to harm yourself or others, simply confess this wrong to Jesus and receive forgiveness.

4

Confess with your mouth that Jesus is your healer and that you release this pain to him.

5

If you trust someone who knows Jesus, have them walk through this with you. When you open up your wounds to Jesus like this, he will release his love and power into your life.

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Jesus has unlimited power to defeat any evil that stands against us. Jesus can heal any pain, crush any addiction, and defeat any tormenting spirit. You need to know that with Jesus on your side you have the power to overcome every obstacle that stands in your way of rising to your full potential. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. E p h e s i a n s 6 :1 2- 1 3 a

The Bible is clear that our enemy, Satan, is real but unseen. The Bible reveals that his goal is to steal, kill and destroy. Satan is the father of lies, the one who roams like a lion seeking who he can devour. We may have never seen Satan or his demons with our physical eyes but we have seen the path of destruction that they have left all around us. Jesus showed the way to defeat the enemy when he was tempted. He responded to Satan by saying, “IT IS WRITTEN,” and speaking God’s Word.

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We win battles by replacing lies with the truth. God says in his Word that we were created in his image. That’s amazing! We are deeply loved by our Creator. Those of us who hate ourselves must begin to view ourselves as our Creator does.

You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt. P s a l m 1 3 9 :1 3 - 1 4

When people or thoughts come against what Jesus taught, we must respond with the truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to break the power that each thing may have over your life. If it is harm towards yourself or others, confess this to Jesus and ask him to break the power that it has over your life. Destroy or get rid of everything related to what you want to separate from. Tell Jesus, “I give up these things to follow you.” Do this with a trusted Christian leader so they can pray with you throughout the process.

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Nicodemus Jesus performed many miracles to bring God’s power and love to the people. But some religious leaders, such as the Pharisees, didn’t like him. There was a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a Jewish leader. One night he went to Jesus and said, “Sir, we know that God has sent you to teach us. You could not work these miracles, unless God were with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God’s kingdom!” Nicodemus asked, “How can a grown man ever be born a second time?” Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that before you can get into God’s kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God. Don’t be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. Only God’s Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. Jesus replied: How can you be a teacher of Israel and not know these things? I tell you for certain that we know what we are talking about because we have seen it ourselves. But none of you will accept what we say. J o h n 3 :1 - 1 1

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New Hope I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. It seems like a lot of our Native households deal with the same issues when they are without Jesus. Alcohol, drugs, financial difficulties, domestic abuse, divorce, sickness, gangs, high school dropout…there’s almost no hope. That was me. How does a kid, teen, adult find a way out? By putting your trust in Jesus as your Savior, surrounding yourself with people who know him, and following his Word. I never knew what a loving father was, or a friend who is always with me. He gives me hope and strength when I don’t have it. God has forgiven me and accepted me as his son. He walks with me through life’s storms, and through every success. Jesus can do the same for you as he has done for me.

Thomas Blackstar III C o m a n c h e N at i o n

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” J e r e m i a h 2 9 :1 1 (N I V )

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Living Water Jesus was of the Tribe of the Jews, who were waiting for the Messiah, the “anointed one”. The Jews considered the Samaritans unclean. A Samaritan woman came to draw water from a well where Jesus was resting. Jesus asked her, “Would you please give me a drink of water?” “You are a Jew,” she replied, “and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won’t have anything to do with each other?” Jesus answered, “You don’t know what God wants to give you, and you don’t know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.” The woman replied, “Sir, please give me a drink of that water! Then I won’t get thirsty and have to come to this well again.” Jesus told her, “Go and bring your husband.” The woman answered, “I don’t have a husband.” “That’s right,” Jesus replied, “you’re telling the truth. J o h n 4 :4 - 1 7 a

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You don’t have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn’t your husband.” The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. My ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say Jerusalem is the only place to worship.” Jesus said to her: “Believe me, the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans don’t really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.” The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” “I am that one,” Jesus told her, “and I am speaking to you now.” The woman left her water jar and ran back into town. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?” Everyone in town went out to see Jesus. J o h n 4 :1 7 b - 2 6, 2 8- 3 0

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A Future Filled with Light Of course the woman at the well did not grow up hoping to have a series of broken marriages one day. So why does history repeat itself? Many people have been asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You’ve heard the typical responses: Fireman. Policeman. Frybread queen. All jokes aside, have you thought much about the future? We often have good intentions about doing something with our future, but we have a hard time getting to where we want to go. Some of us get t rapped in a cycle that our friends or families are stuck in. Maybe in your family everyone drinks all the time. Encountering Jesus can free you from that cycle and give you hope for a new future. With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. Don’t ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the Lord and stay away from evil. This will make you healthy, and you will feel strong. P r o v e r bs 3 :5- 8

Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others. What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. 2 C o r i n t h i a n s 5:1 7 - 1 9

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Many of our people lose hope because of a defeated spirit. Here are some signs of a defeated spirit: quitting when things get tough, starting things but never finishing, or refusing to try something new because we believe we’re incapable. It is true that our people were violated once, and in many ways, it feels like this land stopped being our nation long ago. But now, many generations later, we still live like we are defeated. That all changes with Jesus, because with him all things are possible. Our hope and future comes from him, not from our own strength. We must become the generation that forgives, so we can break the cycles that hold us back from greatness.

10 Reasons to Have Hope! 1 God has promised to keep working in you and with you. P h i li p p i a n s 1 :6

2 Each day is new and fresh. 3

L a m e n t at i o n s 3 :23

God will never abandon you. H e b r e w s 1 3 :5

4 If you make mistakes, you can start over. 1 J o h n 1 :9

5 God loves you unconditionally! 6 7

R o m a n s 5:8

God created you with a purpose. J e r e m i a h 2 9 :1 1 You are never too young to fill your days with meaning and purpose. 1 T i m o t h y 4 :1 2

8 God has created an amazing place in heaven for those who 9

believe in him. J o h n 1 4 :1 - 3

Go after the things God talks about, and God will take care of your needs. M at t h e w 6 :3 3

10 If you trust and acknowledge God, he will direct your life. P r o v e r bs 3 :5- 6

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When there is no one, no not one that I can trust, Lord God, I know that I can still put my trust in you. When I feel that my only friend has left me alone, Lord God, I know I still have a friend in you. When I feel that my whole world has come tumbling down, Lord God, you are still my strong foundation. When I am weak and defenseless, Lord God, you are my strength and my shield. When I feel that I have no place in this world, Lord God, you accept me with your open arms. When I feel rejected by my brothers and sisters, Lord God, I know you are closer than a brother. When I am scared and so confused, Lord God, you are my peace and confidant. When there is no place to go, Lord God, I find refuge in you, When there is no one to cry to, Lord God, I cry to you. When all these happen to me at once, Lord God, you are right there where you have always been. That is why I love you; that is why I live. Lord, when I sing your praises, when I magnify your name, when I speak of your amazing grace, when I am me and you are you, I love you all the more. I love you even so. I love to love you‌my one and only first love!

Rose Yazzie N av a j o N at i o n

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The Prophecy Fulfilled After being tempted in the desert, Jesus went to teach in the Jewish meeting places. When Jesus stood up to read from the Scriptures, he was given the book of Isaiah the prophet. He opened it and read, “The Lord’s Spirit has come to me, because he has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor. The Lord has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to free everyone who suffers, and to say, ‘This is the year the Lord has chosen.’ “ Jesus closed the book, then handed it back to the man in charge and sat down. Everyone in the meeting place looked straight at Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “What you have just heard me read has come true today.” All the people started talking about Jesus and were amazed at the wonderful things he said. They kept on asking, “Isn’t he Joseph’s son?” Jesus answered: You will certainly want to tell me this saying, “Doctor, first make yourself well.” You will tell me to do the same things here in my own hometown that you heard I did in Capernaum. But you can be sure that no prophets are liked by the people of their own hometown. L u k e 4 :1 6 - 3 0

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Get Up! Jesus was teaching in a house. So many people came that there wasn’t even standing room left in front of the door. Jesus was still teaching when four people came up, carrying a crippled man on a mat. But because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So they made a hole in the roof above him and let the man down in front of everyone. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the crippled man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.” Some of the teachers of the Law of Moses were sitting there. They started wondering, “Why would he say such a thing? He must think he is God! Only God can forgive sins.” Right away, Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said, “Why are you thinking such things? Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and pick up his mat and go on home? I will show you that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth.” So Jesus said to the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and go on home.” The man got right up. He picked up his mat and went out while everyone watched in amazement. M a r k 2 :1 - 1 2 a

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Do You Want to be Healed? In Jerusalem there was a pool called Bethesda. People believed an angel would come and trouble the water there, and then whoever entered first would be healed of their diseases. Many sick, blind, lame, and crippled people were lying close to the pool. Beside the pool was a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man and realized that he had been crippled for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” The man answered, “Lord, I don’t have anyone to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up. I try to get in, but someone else always gets there first.” Jesus told him, “Pick up your mat and walk!” Right then the man was healed. He picked up his mat and started walking around. Later, Jesus met the man in the temple and told him, “You are now well. But don’t sin anymore or something worse might happen to you.” J o h n 5:3 - 9 a , 5:1 4

Jesus did not say this to threaten the man. And he was not trying to stop him from being happy about his healing! Jesus knew that sin brings people into painful cycles of destruction. And healing would make little difference if the man was just going to go back to bring more pain on himself. What things do you most want to hold onto? Do you want to be healed?

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Blessed Life Jesus went up on the side of a mountain and sat down. Jesus’ disciples gathered around him, and he taught them: God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven! God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort! God blesses those people who are humble. The earth will belong to them! God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink. They will be given what they want! God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy! God blesses those people whose hearts are pure. They will see him! God blesses those people who make peace. They will be called his children! God blesses those people who are treated badly for doing right. They belong to the kingdom of heaven. God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago. You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on. You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden. M at t h e w 5:1 - 1 4

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Life without Worry Jesus taught about trusting God: “Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds? Can worry make you live longer? “Don’t worry and ask yourselves, ‘Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?’ Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.” M at t h e w 6 :25 b - 27, 3 1 - 3 3

Jesus showed that the Father wants good things for his children. “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.” M at t h e w 7 :7 - 1 1

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Gates and Builders Jesus taught that he was the only way to life. He said, “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.” Jesus gave an example to show the difference between those who obey him and those who only pretend to follow him. “Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn’t obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash.” When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses.” M at t h e w 7 :1 3 - 1 4, 7 :2 4 - 2 9

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Anointed One While Jesus sat to eat with Simon the Pharisee, a sinful woman cried and started washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The woman kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them. Simon, the Pharisee, was offended because the woman was a sinner. So Jesus told him a story. He said, “Two people were in debt to a moneylender. One of them owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other owed him fifty. Since neither of them could pay him back, the moneylender said that they didn’t have to pay him anything. Which one of them will like him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose it would be the one who had owed more and didn’t have to pay it back.” “You are right,” Jesus said. He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Have you noticed this woman? When I came into your home, you didn’t give me any water so I could wash my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You didn’t even pour olive oil on my head, but she has poured expensive perfume on my feet. So I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love.” L u k e 7 :3 6 - 4 7 a

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The Farmer's Seeds

Jesus once told a story of a farmer sowing seeds:

“As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Jesus explained the story: “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it.” M at t h e w 1 3 :4 - 8, 1 9 - 23 a

There is a huge blessing for all who seek to understand God’s Word!

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A Storm Calmed Jesus once showed his disciples (the twelve men who followed him and his teaching) that not even the forces of nature were beyond his power. It started when Jesus decided that they should cross a lake. So they started across the lake with him in the boat. Suddenly a storm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink. Jesus was in the back of the boat asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?” Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm. Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have any faith?” Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” M a r k 4 :3 5- 3 6 a c, 3 7, 3 8 a c d - 4 1

Jesus has power to calm real storms on real lakes. But he also has power to calm the storms in your heart and in your life.

I love you, Lord God, and you make me strong. You are my mighty rock, my fortress, my protector, the rock where I am safe, my shield, my powerful weapon, and my place of shelter. P s a l m 1 8:1 - 2

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Out of Control Jesus has power even over evil spirits! Jesus had just landed near the town of Gerasa, after crossing the lake with his followers. It didn’t take long to find that there was a demon-possessed man there. The evil spirits inside him knew who Jesus was, and they made the man come running as soon as Jesus came ashore. This man had been living in mountains and tombs. He was miserable, always crying and cutting himself with stones. Maybe you or someone you know has run out of hope, gotten isolated, or even self-harmed. Sometimes we believe that we’re the only one we hurt by doing these things. But this man was a clear danger to the people around him. People had already tried to restrain him with chains and leg irons, but he broke apart whatever they tried to bind him with. Now he ran and bowed to Jesus. When Jesus commanded the evil spirits to leave the man, they begged him not to send them out of the country. They asked to be sent into a nearby herd of pigs instead. Jesus allowed it, and the demons possessed about 2,000 pigs and drove them to run into the lake and drown. M a r k 5:1 - 1 3

On the trail of hope, there is no more fear of curses. Through Jesus, the Creator’s peace and beauty comes to you in power. You no longer have to be afraid of the spirits. His love for you is st ronger than any curse.

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Healing Touch Jesus healed sick people everywhere he went. One time, people were crowding around as Jesus was on his way to heal a man’s dying daughter. In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had gone to many doctors, and they had not done anything except cause her a lot of pain. She had paid them all the money she had. But instead of getting better, she only got worse. The woman had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him in the crowd and barely touched his clothes. She had said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.” As soon as she touched them, her bleeding stopped, and she knew she was well. Jesus turned and asked who had touched him. His followers were surprised that he was even asking, because the crowd had been pressing against him the whole time. The woman knew what had happened to her. She came shaking with fear and knelt down in front of Jesus. Then she told him the whole story. Jesus said to the woman, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.” M a r k 5:2 5- 2 9, 3 3 - 3 4

Jesus has our best interests in mind, and he has the power to repair our brokenness. Our faith opens us up to receive the goodness that he already wants to show us.

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The King’s Mercy Jesus often used parables to explain the way of God’s kingdom. Once he told a story about a king: One day a king decided to call in his officials and ask them to give an account of what they owed him. As he was doing this, one official was brought in who owed him fifty million silver coins. But he didn’t have any money to pay what he owed. The king ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all he owned, in order to pay the debt. The official got down on his knees and began begging, “Have pity on me, and I will pay you every cent I owe!” The king felt sorry for him and let him go free. He even told the official that he did not have to pay back the money. As the official was leaving, he happened to meet another official, who owed him a hundred silver coins. So he grabbed the man by the throat. He started choking him and said, “Pay me what you owe!” The man got down on his knees and began begging, “Have pity on me, and I will pay you back.” But the first official refused to have pity. Instead, he went and had the other official put in jail until he could pay what he owed. When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. M at t h e w 1 8:2 4 - 3 1

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The king called the first official back in and said, “You’re an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. Don’t you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?” The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don’t forgive each of my followers with all your heart. Jesus paid our debt so that we could be accepted by God. When it is hard for us to forgive others, we can look to Jesus for power to help us walk on his path. Even when the people were nailing him to a cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing.” M at t h e w 1 8:32- 3 5, L u k e 23 :3 4 a

Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails! 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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Release Others, Release Yourself Jesus talked about forgiveness a lot. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful ways to affect a life. Jesus came to die so a broken creation could be forgiven and restored to its Creator. God forgave us, and he helps us forgive others. Forgiveness has the power to release us from mental and emotional prisons. These are the prisons that many of our people remain. Forgiveness brings the healing that so many of us desperately need. Forgiveness is not pretending that a person did no wrong; instead, it is recognizing that they did wrong, but choosing to release them from blame and leave the event in God’s hands. We can’t change our feelings, but God can. Ask him to change your heart. Be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ. E p h e s i a n s 4 :32

Often, the people who hurt us most are those closest to us. Whether we’ve experienced the pain of abuse, abandonment, or not having a mother or father, this is not the kind of life we were created for. Our situation in life is not easy to talk about, but the truth is powerful: Jesus came to set us free! Many of us do not feel like forgiving. Instead, we have feelings of anger and rage. But if we find the grace and courage to forgive others because of what Jesus did for us, the anger and rage will also leave. So much bad can come from keeping this unforgiveness in our hearts. It all comes down to your decision. Many of our people have been set free by this message. You can be set free, too. Will you take this freedom?

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You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free‌If the Son gives you freedom, you are free! J o h n 8:32 , 3 6

If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light. M at t h e w 1 1 :2 8- 3 0

Jesus will defeat the power of darkness inside your life and change you from within. Jesus came to make a difference. Through the trail of hope, your life can be changed. Jesus alone has the power to do this. Now your choice is clear. Now is the time to walk this trail of hope and never depart from it.

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True Freedom My parents met at boarding school and moved from Oklahoma to L.A. Born and raised in L.A., I grew up the “hood.” Graffiti, helicopters, gunshots, and parents drinking and fighting was my life. I was sexually abused as a child. As a child I didn’t know how to deal with everything I was feeling. I thought I was a mistake. Years later, my parents wanted something better. They surrendered everything to God. I couldn’t escape all the shame and anger that lived in me. I asked God to show me he was real. He showered me with unconditional love and forgiveness. We are all accountable for everything we do, act and say. Once I forgave, I experienced freedom from the past and true JOY. You can’t change your past or what has happened, but you CAN change which direction you want to go for YOUR future. You are here for a purpose and loved by God!

Sandy Ticeahkie C o m a n c h e, Ki o w a & C r e e k N at i o n s

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Jesus Teaches on Prayer Don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. You should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on ear th will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being temp ted and protect us from evil. If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. When you go without eating, don’t try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. They already have their reward. M at t h e w 6 :5- 1 6

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The Father's Love

Once, Jesus told a story about God’s deep and steady love for his children:

Once a man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, “Give me my share of the property.” So the father divided his property between his two sons. Not long after that, the younger son packed up everything and left for a foreign country, where he wasted all his money in wild living. He had spent everything, when a bad famine spread through that whole land. Soon he had nothing to eat. He went to work for a man in that country, and the man sent him out to take care of his pigs. He would have been glad to eat what the pigs were eating, but no one gave him a thing. Finally, he came to his senses and said, “My father’s workers have plenty to eat, and here I am, starving to death! I will go to my father and say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. I am no longer good enough to be called your son. Treat me like one of your workers.’ ” L u k e 1 5:1 1 b - 1 9

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The younger son got up and started back to his father. But when he was still a long way off, his father saw and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son and hugged and kissed him. The son said, “Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. I am no longer good enough to be called your son.” But his father said to the servants, “Hurry and bring the best clothes and put them on him. Give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. This son of mine was dead, but has now come back to life. He was lost and has now been found.” And they began to celebrate. L u k e 1 5:2 0 - 22 , 2 4

This story helps us understand God’s unconditional love. Like the father in the story, God longs to restore us to himself. He forgives us for rejecting him and rebelling against him. The Father does not just have love or give love, HE IS LOVE. (1 J o h n 4 :8 )

Even though the son messed up badly, his father still loved him. And when we mess up, God still loves us. He loves us no mat ter what we have done and offers us forgiveness. We can receive this forgiveness if we turn to him.

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Who are You? Can you imagine how the son felt after wasting all of the good things his father gave him? Can you imagine the sense of loss he had after finding that the things he chased cost him everything good in his life? He was alone, he had nothing, and he really had nowhere to turn. He lost his sense of identity as a son who was loved unconditionally by a father. But at the end of the story, he found his true identity; he saw that his father never stopped loving him. No matter what false identity we have taken on, our real identity is as a child of God! This means that we belong to God the Father, who will never stop loving us. God went out of his way to make us exactly the way we are. So often, we forget our identity. Maybe you have been abandoned by the people who were supposed to be there for you. These situations can cause us to take on an identity that we were never created for.

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The Creator loves you as a Native person. He made you in his image. He want s you to walk with him as a Native person. God desires that all cultures of the world, including our Native Cultures, honor him. Jesus came to make our cultures better, not take them away from us. God is pleased when people from different tribes and nations worship him. He delights when he hears many languages and sees many customs and ways of life being used to praise him. Many people today grow up without a father. This can create huge identity problems. Many young women search for a dating relationship to replace their father’s love and are often left feeling even more emptiness and pain. Many young men live without a good example of how to be a respectable man. Years ago, a man was found roaming the streets after totally losing his memory. On the TV news, he asked if anyone knew who he was. His daughter happened to be watching and identified him. He was a retired doctor and came from a good family. That extreme case of identity loss caused him to end up lost and homeless. Today, identity loss has left a lot of us spiritually lost and homeless. We are dying too young, and often live like there’s no tomorrow. We make one decision after another that takes us farther down a road of pain. We find our true identity when we realize that we are children of God. We were created for love, and through Jesus we receive the love we have always been searching for. T he Lord is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails. How great is God’s love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! How far has t he Lord taken our sins from us? Fart her t han t he distance from east to west! Just as parent s are kind to t heir children, t he Lord is kind to all who worship him, because he knows we are made of dust.

P s a l m 1 0 3 :8, 1 1 - 1 4

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Finding Home When I was a child, even into my teens, the idea of a nurturing “home” and “family” didn’t exist for me. When I was two, my parents got a divorce. My father’s struggle with alcoholism was part of the cause. My first memory was of my dad beating my mom. I also had an older brother who would come in drunk all the time, and he would also beat my mom. As a single parent, my mother really didn’t pay much attention to my siblings or me. I was devastated, since she wasn’t emotionally there for us. I was also sexually abused when I was six years old. Time went on, but I always had this pain in my heart. Where was home, and where was family for me? I felt I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to.

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During the summer, I had been crying every day, and I didn’t know how to deal with the pain. One day I was crying in my room, as usual. I was going through the options for getting rid of my pain. I thought about turning to drugs or alcohol, but I knew what that choice had done to my dad and brother. None of those things were the answer. I thought about talking to someone, but, since I had been hurt so many times, I trusted no one as a true friend to me. I felt like my options had run out and that the only way to get rid of my pain was suicide. As I was thinking about this, the Lord’s presence filled the room. I sensed God saying to me as a caring father would, “You are everything to me.” I felt an overwhelming love, joy, and peace in my heart. At that moment I gave my life to Jesus. I couldn’t believe that the Creator of the universe thought that I meant everything to him when I knew I was nothing. That summer the Lord started a healing process in me. He is the ultimate parent, my heavenly Father, and my best friend.

Linda Redsky S e m i n o l e N at i o n

Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. 1 J o h n 3 :1 a

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Betrayed

Although the crowds loved Jesus, the religious leaders were plotting to arrest and kill him. They were jealous of Jesus’ popularity with the people. They also disliked how Jesus criticized them. Satan entered the heart of Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples. Money had already been a temptation for Judas. He was the one in charge of looking after the moneybag, and sometimes he would steal from it. Now that Satan had come to him, Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple police. They paid him thirty silver coins to help them arrest Jesus. He started looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. M at t h e w 2 6 :1 4 - 1 6

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The Passover was a festival in memory of God saving the Jews out of slavery in Egypt. As he sat at the Passover meal with his followers, Jesus said, “I have very much wanted to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer. I tell you that I will not eat another Passover meal until it is finally eaten in God’s kingdom.” Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he told the apostles, “Take this wine and share it with each other. I tell you that I will not drink any more wine until God’s kingdom comes.” Jesus took some bread in his hands and gave thanks for it. He broke the bread and handed it to his apostles. Then he said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this as a way of remembering me!” L u k e 22 :1 4 - 1 9

After the meal he took another cup of wine in his hands. Then he said, “This is my blood. It is poured out for you, and with it God makes his new agreement. L u k e 22 :2 0

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Hope, No Matter What Both of my parents were alcoholics. I was in foster care for a while, then my parents got cleaned up and I was back with them. When I was 10, my dad died in a car accident. He was drunk. Two years later, my mom grew closer to God. I got saved around that time, but when I was in high school, I was influenced by peer pressure and hip-hop culture. I became a rapper and went on tours. I was part of that “world.” By then I already had a wife and a baby girl. One night after a concert, I had a personal encounter with God. I felt God’s love in such a way that I surrounded my life and dedicated myself completely to him. I knew right then that God loved me with a greater love than anything or anybody. After I surrendered my life, I continued doing music. I share my testimony around the country through what I do. I’ve been married for 14 years now and have 3 kids. There is hope, no matter what. No matter your background, your struggles, your past, God loved you then and he loves you now. He has a better life for you. There is a way that you can be Native American and honor God and your culture, because that is part of who you are.

Supaman

C h r i s t i a n P a r r i s h T ak e s t h e G u n C r o w N at i o n

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The Death Sentence Jesus went to a garden to pray. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don‘t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want.” Judas came to the garden with some soldiers and police sent by the religious leaders. The soldiers arrested Jesus. All of Jesus’ disciples left him and ran away. Jesus was taken to Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate gave orders for Jesus to be beaten with a whip. The soldiers made a crown out of thorn branches and put it on Jesus. Then they put a purple robe on him. They came up to him and said, “Hey, you king of the Jews!” They also hit him with their fists. Pilate said, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the temple police saw him, they yelled, “Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross!” Pilate told them, “You take him and nail him to a cross! I don’t find him guilty of anything.” The crowd replied, “He claimed to be the Son of God! Our Jewish Law says that he must be put to death.” “Kill him! Kill him!” they yelled. “Nail him to a cross!” Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be nailed to a cross. M at t h e w 2 6 :3 9 b; J o h n 1 9 :1 - 3 , 6 -7, 1 5a

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When God Tasted Death Jesus was taken away, and he carried his cross to a place known as “The Skull.” There Jesus was nailed to the cross, and on each side of him a man was also nailed to a cross. Pilate ordered the charge against Jesus to be written on a board and put above the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Jesus knew that he had now finished his work. And in order to make the Scriptures come true, he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of cheap wine was there. Someone then soaked a sponge with the wine and held it up to Jesus’ mouth on the stem of a hyssop plant. After Jesus drank the wine, he said, “Everything is done!” He bowed his head and died. The next day would be both a Sabbath and the Passover. It was a special day for the Jewish people, and they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses during that day. So they asked Pilate to break the men’s legs and take their bodies down. The soldiers first broke the legs of the other two men who were nailed there. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, and they did not break his legs. One of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus’ side, and blood and water came out. J o h n 1 9 :1 6 - 1 7 a , 1 8- 1 9, 2 8- 3 4

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Jesus could have performed a miracle and escaped, but he didn’t. Why not? Because he was our only chance. All humans have sinned. The result of sin is physical and spiritual death. Spiritual death means eternal separation from God. Jesus, who lived a sinless life, took the punishment we deserved so that our relationship with God could be restored.

Jesus is Buried

That evening a wealthy disciple named Joseph from the town of Arimathea went and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave orders for it to be given to Joseph, who took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. Then Joseph put the body in his own tomb that had been cut into solid rock and had never been used. He rolled a big stone against the entrance to the tomb and went away. On the next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees went together to Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember what that liar said while he was still alive. He claimed that in three days he would come back from death. So please order the tomb to be carefully guarded for three days. If you don’t, his disciples may come and steal his body. They will tell the people that he has been raised to life, and this last lie will be worse than the first one.” Pilate said to them, “All right, take some of your soldiers and guard the tomb as well as you know how.” So they sealed it tight and placed soldiers there to guard it. M at t h e w 27 :5 7 - 6 0, 6 2- 6 6

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Out of the Grave The Sabbath was over. Suddenly a strong earthquake struck, and the Lord’s angel came down from heaven. He rolled away the stone and sat on it. The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook from fear and fell down, as though they were dead. On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran to Simon Peter and to Jesus’ favorite disciple and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb! We don’t know where they have put him.” Peter and the other disciple set off for the tomb. They ran side by side, until the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got there first. He bent over and saw the strips of linen cloth lying inside the tomb, but he did not go in. When Simon Peter got there, he went into the tomb and saw the strips of cloth. M at t h e w 2 8:1 a , 2- 4 ; J o h n 2 0 :1 - 6

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Hello Again ! The disciples were afraid of the Jewish leaders, and on the evening of that same Sunday they locked themselves in a room. While Jesus’ disciples were talking about what had happened, Jesus appeared and greeted them. They were frightened and terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus said, “Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt? Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see I have.” After Jesus said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. The disciples were so glad and amazed that they could not believe it. J o h n 2 0 :1 9 a ; L u k e 2 4 :3 6 - 4 1 a

Jesus defeated sin and death! This is what God had promised back in the Garden of Eden. Jesus “crushed Satan’s head.” His victory over death means that we can have eternal life with God. Once we were spiritually dead. Now, because of what Jesus did on the cross, we can live with him in heaven forever!

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Go Te ll E veryo ne! Jesus said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world. M at t h e w 2 8:1 8 b - 2 0

Good News for the Whole World For forty days after Jesus had suffered and died, he proved in many ways that he had been raised from death. He appeared to his apostles and spoke to them about God’s kingdom. While he was still with them, he said: Don’t leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world. A ct s 1 :3 - 4, 8

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Jesus Returns to Heaven After Jesus had said this and while they were watching, he was taken up into a cloud. They could not see him, but as he went up, they kept looking up into the sky. Suddenly two men dressed in white clothes were standing there beside them. They said, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here and looking up into the sky? Jesus has been taken to heaven. But he will come back in the same way that you have seen him go.” After his disciples had worshipped him, they returned to Jerusalem and were very happy. They spent their time in the temple, praising God. A ct s 1 :9 - 1 1 ; L u k e 2 4 :5 2-5 3

Worthy of Trust Jesus did many other things. If they were all written in books, I don’t suppose there would be room enough in the whole world for all the books. Jesus performed many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life. J o h n 2 1 :25; 2 0 :3 0 - 3 1

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Power from Heaven Before returning to heaven, Jesus explained that it was best for him to leave, so he could send the Holy Spirit. Jesus was only in one place at a time, but the Holy Spirit would live inside all believers. As promised, the disciples were not left alone. On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak. Then the disciples left and preached everywhere. The Lord was with them, and the miracles they performed proved that their message was true. A ct s 2 :1 - 4 ; M a r k 1 6 :2 0

The Holy Spir it

There is only one God. But he exists as three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of the three is fully God. Jesus is now in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father (M a r k 1 6 :1 9) .

The Holy Spirit is always with us, although we cannot see him. If we pay attention, we can be aware of his presence. He lives within all believers to help us, show us God’s truth, convict us of sin, comfort us, transform us, and give us power to live a new life.

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Walking for the First Time After Jesus returned to Heaven, his disciples waited in Jerusalem until he sent the Holy Spirit to them. Then they went out to minister with God’s power, like Jesus had. The time of prayer was about three o’clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in. The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. But they looked straight at him and said, “Look up at us!” The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up. At once the man’s feet and ankles became strong, and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. They knew that he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man. While the man kept holding on to Peter and John, the whole crowd ran to them in amazement at the place known as Solomon’s Porch. Peter told the people that this miracle was the power of God. A ct s 3 :3 - 1 1

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Eternity with God What is heaven going to be like? Paul had this to say about the life to come: Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don’t know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us. Paul also wrote about this amazing mystery: You are the only one who knows what is in your own mind, and God’s Spirit is the only one who knows what is in God’s mind. But God has given us his Spirit. One of Jesus’ disciples, John, had an incredible experience that showed how this mystery works. He saw a vision of what life will be like with God in heaven: I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. Then the one sitting on the throne said: I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty. 1 C o ri n t h i a n s 1 3:1 2 , 2:1 1 - 1 2 a ; Re v el at i o n 2 1 :3 - 6

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Beginning Life Jesus will come into your life if you trust him from your heart. The Bible says, “So you will be saved, if you honestly say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death.” (R o m a n s 1 0 :9)

If you are ready to receive Jesus, pray like this: “Jesus, I believe that you died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I can have new life. I want to follow you, so now I give myself to you. Help me now to love you with all my heart and soul and mind. I am done running my life my own way. I want you to come into my life and take it over. Come into every area of my life, and change me into the new creation that you created me to be. Jesus, become Lord of my life. Guide me by your Holy Spirit along the t rail of hope. Amen”

If this is your true desire, you can be sure that your life in Jesus has begun. Now you can begin to live! The life Jesus builds inside of you will be amazing!

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 16 24 40 46 64

Power to Overcome A Future Filled with Light Release Others, Release Yourself Who Are You? Beginning Life with Jesus

wit h Jesus

Jesus alone frees us to live the life we were created for. We don’t live for God to gain salvation; but now we live for God because of our salvation! We love God because he first loved us. Because we are unconditionally loved, forgiven, and freed by our heavenly Father, we can now say “yes” to whatever God wants for our life!

Here are a few things to help you on your new journey with Jesus:

GET WITH A GROUP Jesus had a close group of friends that shared his love for God. This is an example for us. We need friends who believe in Jesus. Together we come to know him better.

GO BY THE GUIDE Native American Teen Book of Hope (NAT) ISBN 978-­‐1-­‐59480-­‐914-­‐9 Copyright © 2013 by OneHope. www.onehope.net Scriptures used in this publication are taken from the Contemporary English Version and arranged in a Bible story format. Copyright © 1995 by the American Bible Society. Used by permission. www.americanbible.org www.bibles.com Text quoted directly from the Bible is in bold.

Chapter and verse references show where you can read the full story in the Bible.

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Read the Bible; it is God’s Word and it reveals his path. Before reading, ask God to help you understand and apply what you are reading.

GET IN TOUCH WITH JESUS Talk to Jesus every day. You can talk to him anytime and anywhere. God not only hears our prayers, but also answers them. He delights in listening to you. The Bible teaches us to go to Jesus for many reasons: • Praising/thanking him • Talking to him about our concerns • Confessing sins to him • Praying for the needs of people around you Remember: God loves you and he has forgiven you! No matter what is happening in your life, God has a plan for you. He has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”

(Hebrews 13:5)

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For more of the story visit www.moreofthestory.com

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Profile for Resources for Children

Book of Hope RISE  

Book of Hope developed for young people primarily from Native American backgrounds.

Book of Hope RISE  

Book of Hope developed for young people primarily from Native American backgrounds.

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