Everyone’s A Winner!

Did you buy a ticket in the recent mega-millions lottery? I heard that the odds of winning were somewhere in the neighborhood of being struck by lightning four times and surviving…It’s interesting that given those odds anyone would still participate! Apparently even the remotest possibility of us being a winner has a powerful draw on us. The siren song of the carnival barker seeks out such a hope in each of us. Playing on our vulnerabilities,our insecurities, boldly declaring that…

Everyone’s a winner!

But who are the real winners in life?

My guess is that we all know at least one person who based on our own specific criteria we consider to be a winner. There might be a number of factors that cause us to view them as such or perhaps just one thing that proclaims success to us. Untold fortunes have been made by authors, ostensibly trying to help the rest of us to achieve our potential’s and thereby enjoy the benefits of being a member of the coveted “winner” club.

I have my own theories as to what’s most essential, they go something like this. It occurs to me that all winners have one very important thing in common. They all know in the depths of their being that they are loved! The most successful young adults I’ve observed are those who’re able to remain focused on their life goals instead of being distracted by all of the misguided attempts engaged in by those around them to get this most important need met. Who can deny that this fundamental lacking is the source of many (if not all) problems in young peoples lives.

I’ve also noticed that people who have a winning attitude seem to fall into two distinct categories. There are those who believe that based on the merits of who they are see themselves as being quite deserving of the love they’ve received and then those who instead are humbled by the love which has been shown them despite who they are! What’s interesting about that to me are the ramifications of these relationship dynamics. One party,believing themselves to be worthy often operates from a place of insecurity while the other,believing the opposite, draws their esteem based on the unconditional love of another which relieves them of the anxiety and insecurity of living up to expectations.Being a winner by the worlds standards can be a very difficult task for most people. I understand that all too well! But what’s so wonderful to me is that I can be a real winner through my relationship with God The Father through His Son Jesus Christ! Because I know deep in my soul that I am loved! I’m not anxious about where I stand with Him because His love for me isn’t about my worthiness…it’s about His nature,it’s about who He is, Who once you have an encounter with will end your own misguided questing for love a love that grows more real and true with every passing day!

It’s also interesting to me that modern psychology teaches the former,

while Gods word teaches the latter…

I’m going to go out on a limb and make a few unqualified statements.

I believe that everyone wants to be a winner!

I believe that everyone IS loved!

Not based on transient things or superficial qualities,

but for no other reason than for just “showing up”

If only we could all know it…

That everyone IS a winner!

Even You!



Don’t Go There!

There’s a species of bird native to where I live called a Killdeer. They’re quite common and if you take a summertime walk near a river or any place where there’s gravel you’re likely to encounter one. Their “KILL-DEE” call is hard to miss but what really drew my attention to them as a young boy was their instinctive flair for the dramatic.  If you should happen to get too close to their young which they nest on the ground, they put on their wounded bird performance. It’s their way of saying “don’t go there”, an academy award winning act intended to draw any potential threat away from that which is vulnerable, their chicks.

Here’s a shot of the “performance”

The more I studied on these birds the more they began to remind me of people. There’s something familiar to me about an animal that lives on the ground instead of living in a tree where it’s ability to fly is a distinct advantage thereby necessitating the aforementioned defensive tactics to survive.  Although it doesn’t seem to make good sense, living by the art of deception in this inhospitable rocky place is simply part of what defines them as being a killdeer.  In my “human-ness” I prefer to think that by making different choices their lives could be so much easier but alas, they have to do what’s in their nature to do. There are no real “choices” for them as far as how they survive other than picking a nesting site that perhaps affords them more security, that’s about it .

We have a “nature” to overcome as well but with a much broader spectrum of choices to make that can either lift us above or deliver us over to what we’re hardwired to do. It’s difficult to spend much time around people and not notice a pattern similar to the Killdeers,  most typically while having a “discovery” conversation with them.  If they think you’re getting too close to an area they feel protective of they’ll do their darnedest to divert the conversation away from it. They’ll scream,cry and yell if need be, often holding up one or both hands using a rapid back and forth motion from the wrist, palms towards you while in a stern voice warning us “Don’t go there!”.  If they’re at all skilled at this tactic, soon you’ll be having an altogether different conversation than you might of originally intended to have. But just like the killdeer’s performance the technique is only good SO many times, an experienced “seeker” won’t continue to follow the ruse and will instead investigate the spot they were heading for initially.

From a human perspective, where exactly is “there” and why are we all so afraid of it? Maybe “there” is a place where it’s real, where it’s personal, where all of the pretenses and compromises have fallen away and the plain truth is all that’s left. A place where there’s an absolute right and an absolute wrong that cannot coincide or abide with the other. A place where we set aside the needs of our ego and lay our self on the altar.  Where there is no ambiguity, and no one can afford to sit on a fence or be half hearted in what they’re doing.

I found these examples of instances where Jesus chose to “Go There” and studied on them. the first one is definitely literal in one respect but figurative in another. Jesus is going to Jerusalem, but in response to Peter’s rebuke He chooses to call it like it is with Peter and speak to the real sponsor of his thoughts

Matthew 16:21-24

21From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

23But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

After He told the disciples of His plans to go to Jerusalem and of what was going to happen to Him there, Peter tried to tell Jesus “Don’t go there” but of course Jesus had to “go there”, and praise God that He did!

The next passage is more of a figurative example that most of us can relate to.

Matthew 21:12-13

12And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Why couldn’t Jesus have just calmly moved about the room and “lovingly” convinced everyone to stop what they were doing? Once again He had to “go there”,  perhaps this is one of those instances where I guess you had to “be there” to fully understand it. Sometimes speaking the truth in love to people means “going there” with them. This is one of my own favorite quotes…

“Knowing the difference between who just needs a hug and who needs a kick in the pants is at the essence of what love is“.

I’ll admit that knowing the difference is a tricky business. Jesus always knew it because He had the Holy Spirit living within Him and was able to discern between the urgings of The Spirit and the the deception of Satan. I’ll always be grateful to the people in my life who took the risk and went there with me, who talked to me instead of talking about me especially if “going there” with me wasn’t an easy or pleasant thing for them to do. Thank You Jesus, for loving me so much that that even though they told You, “Don’t go there”  Praise God You did!

Who’s To Say?

I’m big on remembering quips, quotes, “sayings”, or expressions.

Recently I was reminded of this one:

“Who’s to say that the rantings of a madman aren’t actually

the clear vision of the only sane man left.”


That got me to thinking about how I see the issues of depression and anxiety. Among the various therapies and methods of helping people who complain of these symptoms, one strategy is to help them to “move on.” Another is to help them sort out why what they’re feeling is perhaps irrational.  Depression is primarily a reaction to loss, one of it’s most common symptoms is hopelessness. Can I honestly try to sell people on the idea that there’s sufficient reason to be hopeful in this world? Anxiety is a high energy emotion that’s based in fear. There are indeed a lot of scary things in this world that can happen to people that we’re powerless to stop. What advice can I possibly offer anyone that can truly nullify this prospect?

Please understand that I’m not attempting to make any definitive statements about helping people with emotional problems, I’m only examining the “reality of perception” people seem to operate in.

What I’m talking about here are average people who’ve suffered belief system crashes that left them traumatized and erroneously conditioned to react with anxiety and depression out of a perceived necessity for self preservation.

What if anything can I say? Explaining to people that their need to hold onto the “self” or “ego” and the resultant realization of their powerlessness in controlling circumstances are at the root of their depression and anxiety?

Sure, but what will I do with the other 45 minutes?

In the absence of having God in our lives we tend to stand in for Him and do the job ourselves, and it is rough territory!

Have you got all of the bases covered? What if,what if, what if?

“I’m such a failure, I couldn’t control the circumstances of my life completely, I should just give up!”

Can you see what I mean about “who’s to say” yet?

If I told you everything bad that was going to happen to you for the rest of your life how do you think you’d handle it?

I think most people might resemble the “mad man” I referred to previously.

What if instead, I showed you in Gods word that while you may go through all of the things in your life I previously mentioned, that not only would everything work out great in the end but that you would have peace available to you in the midst of all of it. Would that calm you down? Would it allow you to see the events and circumstances of your life from the perspective of what you gained from them instead of what you’ve lost?

Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad. (NKJV)

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

“Anxiety disorders, like many other conditions, are an example of normal responses that appear at inappropriate times”.

Faced with everything that’s going on in this world we live in and all of the personal challenges that each of us are going through everyday, I guess what I’m wondering is what would constitute justifiable grounds for depression and anxiety?

Although I’ve perhaps got grounds to, I don’t feel depressed or anxious about my personal situation, nor do I feel that way about the future of our world. But I can absolutely understand how someone who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or someone who doesn’t know Him as their Savior might! Some people may think I’m wrong not to be “overly concerned” but then, who’s to say right?