Friday, April 24, 2009

Perception Equals Reality

The phrase "perception equals reality" holds true in virtually every human endeavor. I read where Psychologist have documented the fact that it is not the actual events that harm, so much as the perception of events.

In the stunning movie Life is Beautiful a father finds himself and his young son thrown in a concentration camp in Germany during World War Two. Trying to shield his son from the horror of their situation, he tells the boy that it is all a game, and the first one who gets scared, loses. Somehow he is able to continually convince the boy that none of the cruelty they are seeing is real, but only a play that is taking place. He even predicts the ending, saying at the end of the game a big tank with smiling men is going to come into the camp and declare the winner. When indeed the tank of Americans pulls into camp, the little boy runs leaping and yelling in joy to greet it: "We won! We won!" The father's change of perception shielded the child from immense mental and emotional harm.*

Isn't this exactly the kind of father we need? We have this kind of Father in heaven and most of the time don't even realize it. We look past his promises and focus on all of the destruction and turmoil in our lives. His word promises in Revelation 7:17 that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. He is teaching us the same thing the father in the concentration camp taught his son: We are in a play that is going to have a happy ending no matter what it looks like today.

What seeming insurmountable problems are you facing today that have you in an uproar? How does God's promise of a happy ending help you gain a proper prospective?

Dearest Lord Jesus,
I know you will never leave me nor forsake me. You stay by my side through thick and thin. Please correct my perspective when I take my eyes of you and put them on my problems. And please help me to remember that my life is going to have a happy ending. You have said it and I believe it. In your precious name I pray. Amen.

*As told in Jesus Life Coach, by Laurie Beth Jones

Thursday, April 16, 2009


While reading a framed picture of “Secrets to Happiness” on my mother-in-law’s bathroom wall, I was bothered by the fact that hardly any of them had to do with seeking God. This prompted me to make my own list of keys to happiness because without God, I can’t even imagine how anyone could ever be truly happy. May you take each one and use them to open the way to the joyous, adventurous life God went to extreme measures for you to have. These keys have kept me splashing on the beach of life, totally protected, despite the fact that our enemy lurks in the water like “Jaws” attempting to steal, kill, and destroy. But when I spot that dorsel fin sticking out of the water, heading my way, I hit him in the nose with the truth of God’s word. He swims away.

The Listening Heart’s 10 Keys to Happiness:

1. Spend time alone with Jesus listening through his Word—Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live (Isaiah 55:3).
2. Get up early and spend time praying in nature—Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35).
3. Feel the power of praying with others—For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20).
4. Remember you will never be left alone or forgotten—because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
5. Practice forgiveness (even on yourself), God’s gift for keeping your soul healthy—Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22).
6. Confess your sins; doing so will lead you in the right direction—Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).
7. Remain accountable to fellow believers at all times—But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13).
8. Give something away without wanting anything in return—It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
9. Demonstrate random acts of kindness—Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12).
10. Study and live out the believer’s blueprint for victory found in 2 Timothy 2:1-26 and become a vessel of noble purposes—In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work (2 Timothy 2:20-21).
A happy Christian is not a person without adversity, but he or she stays with the winning coach on the winning team, permanently. This knowledge will remain our source of joy and peace forever.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thoughts on Easter

When I encounter writings on religion apart from true Christianity I notice a repeated theme--an idea that the resurrection is not needed to save us or attempts to disprove the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on Friday, was buried, and rose to life on Easter Sunday. Paul gives us some deep thoughts on Easter in 1 Corinthians 15:

Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there's no resurrection, there's no living Christ. And face it—if there's no resurrection for Christ, everything we've told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you've staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there's no resurrection.

If corpses can't be raised, then Christ wasn't, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren't raised, then all you're doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It's even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they're already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we're a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19-The Message)

Since I have become a believer, I'm not nor have I ever been a "sorry lot." Only when I surrendered to Jesus did I begin to discover genuine fulfillment in every way--physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. No one can take that away from me-no intellectual who claims to know more than I do about life or even a person who does not believe the truth, not even my own father.

I pray all of you will cherish the old rugged cross with me and HAVE A VERY HAPPY EASTER!


George Bennard


On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
To bear it to dark Calvary.


In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
Such a wonderful beauty I see;
For ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Have you thrown away your confidence?

So do not throw away your confidence;

it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere

so that when you have done the will of God,

you will receive what he has promised.

Hebrews 10:35-36

God is calling us to persevere. I hear his call when I read this verse and I heard it this morning while listening to a speech on perseverance. The speaker told the story of three women who persevered through physical, mental, and financial disabilities. April Holmes, a track and field star had her leg amputated in a commuter train accident. She went on after lots of therapy and training with a prosthesis to set records in the 100, 200, and 400 meter sprints. The other, Anne Sullivan, was put under the care of a loving nurse in a mental hospital who never gave up on her, even when everyone else did. She responded to the nurse's care and improved. Completely healed, she later dedicated her life to caring for people like herself. She ended up coaching Helen Keller through her disabilities. If it had not been for Anne Sullivan's loving and godly nurse, the name of Helen Keller would have remained unknown. The names of these first two ladies remain virtually unknown, but the last one has become a household name. The third person she spoke of who never gave up was Paula Deen. She started out as a divorced mom of two young sons with $200.00 in her bank account. Today she is a multi-millionaire doing what she loves--cooking.

We have a mighty God on our side to help us through whatever this nasty old world throws our way. If we think the barriers are too high or the cost too great to get around the obstacles, we have thrown away our confidence and forfeited our rich rewards. How tragic. Never throw away your confidence, for in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay" (Hebrews 10:37). So listen to your Master Coach and receive what he has promised. Hold tight to your confidence and don't ever give up!!!

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."
Helen Keller, author and blind and deaf educator