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Lenten Devotional, March 27: By Steve Rader

As I contemplate Lent this year, one thought comes to mind. Perception is everything! How we perceive the world around us, how we perceive others' actions, and especially how we perceive ourselves can make all of the difference. In my life, I've noticed when I look at things through a lens of fear, scarcity, and inadequacy, I can get suckered into thinking that our world is collapsing in chaos, that "others" are ruining everything, and that I'm "not enough" and someone might just figure out that I don't have it all together.

But I've been re-reading John Claypool's book "Parables, Stories Jesus Still Tells" (which I highly recommend) and what he highlights over and over is the message that our lives are a gift. They are an underserved windfall. We've won the lottery! God has placed us in an amazing world, with other amazing people, with plenty for everyone and nothing to fear ("Fear Not" seems to be a significant recurring theme in the Bible).

Yes, there is evil in the world. Yes, there are global issues. Yes, each of us fail daily.... AND, we as followers of Christ can see things differently. His love allows us to see past the fear and self-doubt and focus on the love and hope that comes through our relationship with Him and others. Claypool makes the point that Jesus doesn't change our past. He just changes the way we see it. In this season of Lent, I am working to change my perception of the world. I'm working on recognizing the amazingness that God has provided all around me and within me and to look past the fear and doubt.


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