Wednesday, August 13, 2008

20/20 Vision

Hey bloggers,

I was making some plans yesterday for Debye’s and my 20th wedding anniversary, which is a week from today (on August 20th), and the idea of celebrating 20 on the 20th got me thinking about re-visiting my book 20/20 Vision: Changing Your Life by Changing the Way You See Things.

Suffice it to say that I personally need to take a little look at some of these basic principles about perception right now…sort of need a refresher course in "perception 101"…and I have the feeling that maybe some of you do, too. So from now until the 20th I want to share some excerpts from the book with you…

This is from the introduction…

You can, in fact, change your life by changing the way that you see things. It has been theorized that there is no such thing as reality, there is only perception – a premise that can be argued, ad infinitum, by philosophers and physicists, alike. Whether or not it is actually and completely true, the fact remains that your perception of things really does determine how you think, feel and function every single day of your life. It is a fact that God is, but it is also a fact that God is to you how you see that He is. The world around you is, but that world is to you how you see that it is. Life is what it is, but for you, your life is how you really see that it is.

The earth is round, but to the people of the ancient world it was flat, even after Christopher Columbus returned from the Americas on the other side of the globe. The false perception of the earth’s flatness did not change the fact that the earth is and always has been round, but the fact of its roundness did not change the world’s collective perception that it was flat. The reality and the perceived reality continued to coexist for another generation after Columbus. In the same way, there are things you believe about your world that are undeniably and universally true, and there are things you believe that are only true in your own mind.

You can determine your own happiness by learning how to properly view and discern the circumstances of your past and present. By learning how to see yourself correctly, you can become the person you’ve always really wanted to be or, better yet, you can reveal the best “you” that you already are. You have the ability to choose an attitude and vision for each day with the same confidence and ease that you have when choosing what to have for breakfast in the morning or what clothes to wear for the day. The more you are able to see how inner sight creates daily realities, the better skilled you will become in using it to your advantage.

Free your mind, open the eyes of your heart, and prepare to change your life for the better. You can be happy. You can succeed. You can stop second guessing your life-choices, living in regret, or blaming others. You can break all the limitations of your own mind and tap into an inner power that will enable you to do things that you never thought you could do before. And you can do it all by simply choosing to change your viewpoint and perception of the things pertaining to your life. As you begin to realize personal transformation, let these words take on new meaning for you: I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see!


There we saw the giants . . . and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.
Numbers 13:33

Consider these two statements: (1) You are what you see; and (2) Every person eventually becomes what he or she really believes himself or herself to be. Now, consider how these indisputable truths are interrelated. The concepts of seeing and believing are so completely connected to one another that no one can separate any part of his or her life from them. The constant cooperation of both of these actions continues to affect your entire world view, as well as your conscious and subconscious self-image. Your perception of the immediate world shapes your attitude toward it and ultimately creates the environment in which you live.

The way that you see yourself determines what you deeply believe about yourself and how you relate to others. You constantly communicate your vision and belief about yourself to those around you in innumerable ways. Every day, without knowing or understanding how they do it, the people who come into contact with you actually learn how to see you by perceiving, on a very profound level, how you see yourself. People respect you because you respect yourself. People love you because you love yourself. People follow leaders because they believe in them, and they believe in them because those leaders believe in themselves.

Picture This

Whether you are aware of it or not, the quality of your life is being determined on a daily basis by your own core beliefs – the things that you really believe, foundationally. Your most basic existence is produced and manifested right out of your own unique belief system, as is the “you” that you project to the general public. The lifestyle you enjoy, the things you accomplish, the things you attract to yourself, as well as the people who enter and exit your life, are all being moved, motivated and managed on some level by what you honestly believe about yourself and by how you perceive your relationship to your world.

That powerful and dominant belief system (mindset, philosophy of life, world view) is basically just a collage of internal pictures that you have collected throughout your personal history. Some of these internal pictures are facsimiles of real things that you have seen externally, and others are images that have been painted on the canvas of your mind through thoughts, words and suggestions. There are pictures in this collage of yourself, and of the components of the world around you, some of which are actual and authentic, others of which are more smoke and mirrors than real images of a viable reality.

Optical Illusions

The fundamental convictions that you hold about your own identity, value, or worth as an individual, which are realistic but positive, are generally valid. But the beliefs that you maintain which produce negative inner pictures very probably result from your own self-imposed, internal optical illusions. Very few people in life ever really hold a completely accurate picture of themselves in their own minds. We tend to believe what others tell us about ourselves, either verbally or subliminally, and, therefore, live out a good part of our time using information that has been obtained by the observance of a wrong, mental self-portrait.

The shockingly emaciated young girl suffering from anorexia nervosa continues to starve herself because she is fixated on a completely fallacious picture of an overweight girl that she sees as being herself. No matter how many people tell her how thin she is, and despite her doctor’s stern admonition to gain some weight, she still refuses to eat because she can’t really see a reflection of her actual self when she looks in the mirror. She doesn’t see what everybody else sees because she is held emotionally captive by an internal vision of an incorrect picture. In many cases, the results of such dangerous illusions can prove to be fatal.

Perception is Everything

Two people observe the same glass of water. One sees the glass as half full, the other sees the glass as being half empty. Of course, this illustration has been overused to the point of becoming cliché, but if you think about it, it really is the perfect way to explain the concept of perception. The glass is half full, and it is half empty. Both realities exist simultaneously, but two different people see two completely different pictures of the exact same thing. They hold to opposing concepts because they have conflicting paradigms and, therefore, have different perceptions of the truth. The most remarkable thing is that neither person is wrong!

Moses sends twelve spies into Canaan with a mission to bring back a report about the conditions existing there. Ten of the spies see a picture of overwhelming impossibilities and bring back a negative report of a hopeless situation. But two of them, Joshua and Caleb, see something entirely different and bring back a completely alternative report, never refuting the validity of the report of the other ten. All twelve spies inspect the very same geographical area, and all twelve tell the truth about what they observe, but they have conflicting perceptions of the same reality. A simple matter of perception cost Israel forty years in the wilderness.

See and Say

Moses’ twelve spies were commissioned to see something and to say something – to translate the visual into the verbal, so that the others waiting back at the camp could unify themselves around a collective vision. This principle of seeing and saying is something that you practice on a regular basis, either intentionally or unintentionally, and it can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on how you use it. The combination of positive visualization and verbalization in your life can be a powerfully transformative force, if you are consistent in your practical application of it. You are what you see that you are. You are what you say that you are.

This book is called 20/20 VISION because it is based on 20 daily affirmations that you can make concerning how you see yourself, and another 20 daily affirmations concerning how you see everything else. Each affirmation has commentary that expounds on its meaning for your life, with a plan to help you observe things in a better light and to encourage you to say something good about what you see every day. Remember that you are creating vision (visualization), changing vision (paradigm shift) and discovering vision (perceptive insight) all at the same time. You can change your life by changing the way you see things.


Anonymous said...

Amazing, how perception can change
in a person when he realizes that he is loved. Amazing.


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

So glad you blogged about perception, Bish.

On yesterday's blog: The stained glass window pic (wow - interesting words) seems full of symbolism. (or, maybe it's just the way I'm seeing)

Resembles a life preserver behind Jesus' head. And, if you stare at it a certain way, maybe Jesus' hand is a full ear of corn & all the kids are eating healing.

There's more. (sssh... I'm studying)

Anonymous said...

I love 20-20 Vision for many reasons including the book cover. The artwork that shows the flying birds merging into and out of each other are to me a picture of thought that is further confirmed in the writings of the book.

Perception is much like imagination in that it does not need a commonly accepted foundational truth to exist.

Perception also effects the whole of what is contacted by it. An example is that you are to me who I believe you to be and I am to you who you believe me to be. Neither of us can do anything about what the other believes about us except to either allow or disallow what has been said by one to the other.

As we merge through our contact with each other though, our behavior will be modified to some degree. Either we will become more hardened in our resolve concerning what we believed before or we will modify toward an improved understanding of our pre-existing perception of ourselves and the other person we have intracted with.

The main reason for the saying there is no such thing as a well traveled bigot is directly related to the thoughtfulness of interaction with others to the degree that a common good is percieved to exist among all people. There is a common good and most of us who think about these things see that as being a form of love that exists both within and without our own existence.

Bishop is to me an anointed teacher of divine truth that I recieve with the same reverence that I have recieved in the past from my earthly Dad who's wisdom may have come from a different era of experience but non the less loved God and embraced mercy and grace without condition both for himself and others. It is up to Bishop whether or not he believes that I actually love him with that kind of deep regard.

Bishop has told me that I am a seer, a prophet, an elder and that from time to time my writing blows him away. It is up to me whether or not I believe that his view of me is valid.

The same process happens with everyone we meet every day. Some people we only see briefly and some we have contact with for a lifetime but everyone of them speak into our lives and are effected by what we say about themselves to them.

It is important to me that revelation both recieved and given be in continuity with what I percieve to be the common good in all things. My perception of that common good is primarily shaped by my own increasing understanding of what I believe to be God revealed as Perfect Love.


Anonymous said...

Hello blog family.
Checkin' in.

Perception, yes.
See and say--The responsibility of the spies stands out to me.

The possibilities that are in seeing EVERY choice [well, lots of them anyway] can look and sound like cacaphony.
In seeking a "name" for anything--
which one do I choose when I see every possibility?

I'm still in Sunday's message on the willed wind-blast and contemplating the "name" that will work for me for some things that got my attention this weekend. [even the 3 little pigs reference spoke to me!] It's all good. I'm almost there. I sense that the name I choose will help bring some other thoughts into Godly alignment too.

I'll catch up with y'all. Gotta get this work done before I can run again.

Anonymous said...

Is it time for a Wed. night 20/20 refresher course teaching?

Anonymous said...

Today’s article has really stirred my inner being. It has pick up some things way back in the recesses of my mind, held them up and shook the dust off of them and caused me to take a much needed second look at them.

Also as I read over the article I realized something I have never seen before on the very simple/profound illustration of the half full/empty glass. As I looked at the picture and thought about it, I realized that ”I cannot see” the glass half empty……I just cant! THAT’S NOT WHAT I SEE! And as I realized this, I thought back and I realized that I never could see the glass half empty! This really is proving your point to me this morning in a very vivid way – quite an eye opener you might say ;)

Looks like its time to get my book off the shelf and dust it off too. Thanks Bishop Jim for 20/20.



Anonymous said...

Thinking about every possibility as mentioned by Avatar and revisiting the half glass of water mentioned by Iconoclast brought back a memory of an interaction with an authority figure in my early twenties when just starting a career as a fire/medic.

One of the rookie's assignments was to do a safety check, refill the fuel tank and clean the car of the chief officers first thing every morning when coming on duty. When asked by a Batallion Chief concerning the condition of the vehicle passed on to him by the previous shift B/C, I responded by saying, yea, he left the tank half empty again. The B/C then said you know that you are a pessimist don't you because an optimist would have said the tank was half full. I laughed as it was my youthful nervous habit to do when confronted by authority figures and replied, well because the gas was being used instead of being replaced it just seems right that it was half empty. He scratched his balding head and left. Later that day he told me, you know kid, I like you but I gotta tell ya that it disturbs me that you seem to think everything I say is funny.


Anonymous said...

It seems to me, that the perception
that I perceive with, has a lot to do with what condition my condition
is in. (key word: seems)


Anonymous said...

Probably absurd, but the pic under Section One, kinda reminds me of the "wedjet", (the sacred eye) which symbolized protection in Egyptian art.

Interesting how the word "relationships" is in a box. (like a previous blog pic with the word GOD)

The profile of the man's head leads me to consider how thoughts are vital to the rest of the body; systemic nourishment (or otherwise).

* Thanks for the book tip, Tracey!

Larry Usher said...

Great stuff today Bishop! Hello all!

I AM CONVINCED and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you WILL CONTINUE until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to FULL COMPLETION in you.
IT IS RIGHT and appropriate for me to have THIS CONFIDENCE and feel this way about you all, because you have me in your heart and I hold you in my heart as PARTAKERS AND SHARERS, one and all with me, OF GRACE (God's unmerited favor and spiritual blessing). [This is true] both when I am shut up in prison and when I am out in the defense and confirmation of the good news (the Gospel).
For God is my witness how I long for and pursue you all with love, in the tender mercy of Christ Jesus [Himself]!
And this I pray: that YOUR LOVE MAY ABOUND YET MORE AND MORE and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight [that your love MAY DISPLAY ITSELF IN GREATER DEPTH OF ACQUAINTANCE and more comprehensive discernment],
So that you may SURELY LEARN to sense WHAT IS VITAL, and approve and prize what is excellent AND OF REAL VALUE... Phillipians 1:6-9 & part of 10.

It is so good to remind ourselves of what the Lord has already done, to remind ourselves of WHO WE ARE, and to take the above scripture to heart and KNOW that He is working to complete the work in us. We may go through lulls in the perception of sonship or the perception of the pathway but WE MUST BE CONVINCED(during the times of waiting) that there is more going on THAN MEETS THE EYE. I must look past what is seen to the UNSEEN things and KNOW that God is NOT SLACK in His promise, neither does He slumber or sleep, neither does The Advocate cease His advocacy of us at any time.

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his(DAILY-my addition)) benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Ps 103:1-5

...Who redeems our life from destruction...sometimes it IS WHAT WE DON'T SEE that was accomplished by God on our behalf on a given day, ie- the destruction that DIDN'T HAPPEN!

The spider works quietly, almost unnoticed, weaving his web- string upon string, line upon line; but when complete it is an intricate thing of beauty, complex and fully suited to its task. So God works quietly with us- as He did in the womb- molding & shaping, tweaking & prodding until, at last, Glory is seen.

Taste and SEE that God(and His Body) is GOOD!

Blessings & grace to you all,


enjoyed all the posts today!

Anonymous said...

Well said Larry.

I found this on the internet today and thought it was really special.

I want my/our perception to be Fathers perception. What does Father see in me/you?

A Personal Letter From Father to You


You may not know all about me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I would be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

When you received the gift of my son Jesus, you received me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

When you get home, I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15


Larry Usher said...

Awesome Anon 3:10!! Good to soak up every day, especially when you don't feel like it!


tracy said...

"God is to you how you see that He is" My favorite part! So true too. Our perception of His character can so limit His ability to work in our lives. If you serve 8 pound 6 ounce baby Jesus He is pretty helpless, if you serve weak God your circumstances seem huge, if you serve judgemental God you feel defeated most of the time. On the OTHER hand if you serve Mighty God- no problem is too big for Him to handle, if you serve faithful God you can walk in confidence knowing He never gives up on you "not one will fall to the ground".... I am seeing my God glass half full just talking about it!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Izumi, it's so nice to have you back analyzing the pics! I love how you see things...

And was that really you sounding so "We Are the World" yesterday, DBA? What's up with that?

Love everyone's comments...nice to have you all on board...

Anonymous said...

Sanctuary much, Bish!

Anonymous said...

I have been considering something I said this morning about only “being able” to see the glass half full.

If you connect that to “looking into the scriptures” there are basically three theological “views” of the outcome of mankind as to their relationship with God and how that affects their eternal condition.

You have:
1) Eternal punishment in hell
2) Annihilation in hell
3) The ultimate salvation of all

Now the problem is you can take the bible in today’s popular translations and teach any one of these views as true.
(That is if you don’t look into the original languages for the meaning of some key words)

So here’s the deal, having been taught to ‘SEE’ the scriptures from one of these three positions, THAT IS WHAT THEY SEE WHEN THEY READ THE BIBLE!

But once you know the truth through revelation of the true nature of our Heavenly Father i.e. love and absolutely sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent; not a respecter of persons and through actual personal study of the scriptures with many of the easily accessible resources available – even free through internet.

Then when you “look into” perceive” the meaning of scriptures; you will realize that number 1-2 above ”CANNOT BE TRUE” and could never be true!

Then you will know (perceive) the truth and the truth will make you free!!!!!!

You will be able to truly “see” the kingdom of God.

PRAISE GOD !!!!!!!

Burning bridges,
Building new ones,

DoubleBack Alley said...


Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'am a schizophrenic
I am too.

Revealing a softer side I suppose, but the saber is still there in plain view.

Ain't God Good?

Son of Zadok said...


Radiohead - Airbag

In the next world war
In a jackknifed juggernaut
I am born again

In the neon sign
Scrolling up and down
I am born again

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

In a deep deep sleep of the innocent
I am born again

In a fast German car
I'm amazed that I survived
An airbag saved my life

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

Beyond the obvious metaphor of surviving a car crash, and from one who was pronounced dead at the scene after flying through a windshield, I can appreciate the song as such. I was born again. This phrase, repeated over and over, along with "I'm back to save the universe" suggests a purpose, the one that Christians would acknowledge as Christ's purpose in returning at the end of days. There are several references to the Book of Revelations: "In the next world war, In a jackknifed juggernaut..." like the failed attempt at resolving world conflict among nations referenced in the BOR just before Christ shows up to sweep all the armies away. Pretty crazy stuff but it's in there. Also the line "In a deep deep sleep of the innocent, I am born again..." could reference the part where all the martyrs, saints and innocents will rise from there early graves to walk with "feet like light" through the Heavenly City (Thomas Merton). "In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the universe..." Yeah...

Danish Brethren

Lord let us see the beauty in world. Let us see the best in those around us. Let see them the way you see them. Glorify us in this world Jesus as we glorify you. You prayed to Father that we would not be taken out of this world and at the same time that we would not be of this world. Tonight we come together and offer something unique to you. Tonight, precious Holy Spirit we delight in a new encounter with you. We will never plan to much or get in your way. Just have your way in us in these special moments we are about to share together. All because of you Jesus and what you've done. We open ourselves to you. Fill us Holy Spirit. We so love you.


Anonymous said...

I have debated for days on using the details even though I value “anonymity” because it forces me personally into a “without details” perspective. But here it is.

If I cause an offense I can really worry about it [details removed]. However,
two unusual events this weekend forced me to focus on that “issue” at a time when I would rather have been focusing on the greater thing that was happening.

Apparently, while taking up close pictures at the GPF, down on one knee, a man, on the front row, took offense and he actually got up and slapped my foot! Still clueless, I sat down to take the pictures. Back at my seat, I couldn’t let it go [I’ll spare the details here, too]. Who was that guy? Finally I got to…what do I do about this, Lord?

No, kidding, y’all—the lady next to me leans over and says to me “When someone touches us, we’re supposed to pray for them.” Okay then! Will do. And then I realize he was seated in the Muslim section and what the offense must have been. Double sigh.

Fast forward to Sunday. After the service, [sparing details] I’m told, very sternly, that I have had nothing to offer in the way of ministry. Ouch. This time, a fresh word was in me—it is no longer I that lives. That got me home, BUT---some of you can fill in the details, I suspect.

So! Here’s my new pool umbrella! The old “it’s their fault” and “it’s my fault” ones are in the pool. [see Sunday’s teaching if that doesn’t make any sense]. I’m starting to see them and me as we will be…but NOW! I will be forgiven then, which is now. I’m not sure how strong this new umbrella is yet…but for now, the Son is shining.

Bishop, on Sunday, you said “a lot of people check out to see what I say about things.” When we only knew of you through a friend, before we ever saw you, we wanted to know what YOU had to say about 9-11.

In addition to the gift of your Spirit-filled presence wherever you go, the gift of your good reports and the gift that you give when you frame each day on the blog is as immeasurable as the sands of the sea and equally as important--globally as well as in Conyers.

Anonymous said...

Of course I meant that ‘SOME’ in #1-2 would be saved in my earlier post

Anonymous said...

My specktor gauge is speckting,

that this Sundays service might be

one thats been speckted for, for

sometime, so I speckt we all should

be ITB this Sunday, at least those

of us who can be. I'm not saying

that this is a thus sayeth the

Lord, I'm just saying...

Nothing to lose.

Teezy313 said...

Hey Bish,
So I decided to go back down to the Mix for service tonight, which btw was fun and awesome, so I missed your message tonight...but just to let you know I am leaving for my second semester of college Friday and classes start Monday so I'm not exactly sure if I'll be ITB Sunday but if I don't see you in person before I leave I'll definately be keeping in touch on the blog =]

Blessings to all,

Anonymous said...

My brothers and sisters, what you have seen today...what you've heard today...what you have felt destiny.
Today is unlike any other day that you have lived.
The Spirit of God is alive and well!...and you my friends, are a part of something awesome!

These words were spoken by Pastor Debye Swilley of Church In The Now and you can see why when you go to the video clip at; as I just did, and I would like to report that maybe this is part of Martin Luther King's dream(vision) when he said "Free At Last, Free At Last, Thank God Almighty We're Free At Last!"

Anonymous said...

Amen, Clark, amen!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I really miss my contact here. Its my life boat.