Have Faith
March, 2015 - Issue #125
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Positive Perceptions & Conclusions come Down to Faith
by Marlon Saunders

The ongoing war between thoughts of defeat and thoughts of success plays out in the battlefield known as the mind.

Every thought, perception and ultimate conclusion is created and confirmed in our mind. Once our mind has confirmed whether or not something will ultimately be a failure or a success, it begins to send signals or, rather, orders, to the rest of the body to act in accordance with the mind's verdict.

Once the body receives orders from the mind, we begin to outwardly act out or respond in accordance to the mind's conclusion. Should the conclusion be a feeling of defeat or failure, we will begin to respond in accordance to that belief in different ways, and usually these ways are unproductive and unhealthy.

"Once you TRUST God, the mind concludes that no matter how bad it looks, it is going to be ok."
Marlon Saunders
However, should the conclusion be a feeling of hope, triumph or victory in the face of adversity, we will begin to respond in ways that are not just productive but healthy. This healthy response extends far beyond our mental state and influences our physical, emotional and spiritual state.

It has to be understood that at the root of a positive conclusion or a feeling of triumph, regardless of the scenario, is faith.

Faith is required in order to attain a positive perception and conclusion. As a pastor, I define faith as trusting God even when you cannot trace God.

Once you trust God, the mind concludes that no matter how bad it looks, it is going to be ok. This very conclusion is the origin of the internal orders that will ultimately manifest themselves in good physical health and happiness.
Marlon Saunders is the senior pastor of Valencia Christian Center. 296-4VCC (4822)

We get what We put In
by Debbie Sperry

We spend a lot of time evaluating things based on what we get out of it. How much can a job pay us? What will joining that organization do for me? Is that event worth it?

And, in some form or fashion, we ask a similar question of faith and the church. What's in it for me?

Ultimately, there is a lot to be gained from God through faith: salvation, forgiveness, grace, community, peace, joy, hope, and so much more. Now there's not a satchel of good things that lands in our lap when we choose to follow Christ. The blessings aren't universal. Instead, God's gifts are unique to each of us. But the ultimate truth is the same: God cares deeply for each of us and is committed to our wholeness and abundant life.

"We have to invest in our faith life. We have to commit to growing stronger SPIRITUALLY."
Debbie Sperry
So what do we get with faith? An assurance of God's love for and promise to us. That conviction brings peace knowing God is at work, even when we can't quite see it. As we trust God we will begin to look back and see God at work in our lives, giving us strength through illness or loss, guidance and wisdom for big decisions, and love and forgiveness for our relationships.

There's a lot to be gained from our relationship with Christ, but we can't just sit back and hope God throws blessings our way. We have to invest in our faith life. We have to commit to growing stronger spiritually. Kind of like if we want great physical health, we have to eat right, exercise and limit the junk food.

Similarly, if we want to enjoy a full spiritual life, we have to "eat" God's Word, exercise mercy and grace and limit the junk of temptation.
Debbie Sperry is the lead pastor at Valencia United Methodist Church. 255-1301 #VUMChereforgood
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