Is Heaven a Real Place?

Written by Jimmie Burroughs – e-Mail to a friend

The film “Heaven is for real” opened Easter weekend (2014) beating out Johnny Depp’s new film “Transcendence” at the box office. Is heaven a real place is a question on the minds of many this time of the year as the church across the world celebrates the resurrection of Christ?

How can a person ever really know for sure if heaven actually exists? That is a good question, but no different from many other questions concerning our existence on earth. Much that surrounds life on earth is not completely understood and can only be accepted by faith, including many things outside the religious realm. Heaven’s existence is also ultimately accepted by faith if at all.

Faith is not what some consider it to be. It is not blindly accepting a dogma because it is a popular belief. True faith has substance as well as substantial evidence. For example, when a credit card company accepts you, it is because the credit card company places its faith in you to pay on time. However, credit card companies do not operate on blind faith. They are careful to investigate your credit history. If you paid in the past, they believe that you will also pay in the future. Neither should we accept heaven’s existence on blind faith. Just as the credit card company takes care in investigating each applicant, so should we carefully investigate all the claims concerning heaven’s existence, beginning with the Bible. The Bible teaches that there is a heaven. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you [heaven] if it were not so I would have told you,” (John 14:6).  You may be thinking, well that just brings up another question: How are we to know that the Bible is true? Once again, it is accepted by faith, not blind faith but faith that is well supported by evidence, by history, science, and fulfilled prophecy. (For more information on the inspiration of Scripture read “How we know the Bible is the word of God.”)

The easiest thing to do is just to  say, without any serious investigation, well I just do not believe there is a heaven. Seriously, does that make it so, that there is no heaven, just because you decided to believe that there is not?  It does not matter much what any of us believes. We can choose to believe most anything we please, even that which is proven untrue. What is true and what is false, is what really matters. The greatest proof that there is a heaven is based on whether Jesus was truly who He said He was. There are many false beliefs concerning Jesus. Here are some of the popular ones:

  • He is just a legend
  • He was just a man who believed that he was more.
  •  He lied about who he was.
  • He was a deranged lunatic.

He was a legend: There are a number of problems, which come to mind about the conception that Jesus, as we know Him, is just a legend:

The reputable first century historians, Josephus, Tacitus, et al, the first century contemporaries of Christ, the disciples of Jesus, the family members of Jesus, and The Roman officials never disputed the miracles or supernatural feats of Jesus. Most certainly many would have spoken up if there had been any evidence that Jesus did not do the things the Bible ascribed to Him, such as the feeding of the five thousand from a few pieces of food to walking on water and raising the dead. The Pharisees tried relentlessly to prove Jesus a fake but never were able to do so. Had Jesus been a fake, there would have been a great uproar but there was nothing of the sort. Jesus has none of the characteristics of a legend.

Legends typically develop over a long period. The reputation of Jesus was formed primarily during His three-year public ministry and was solid within twenty years after His death. All the authors of the New Testament wrote shortly after the death and resurrection of Christ ascribing the miracles and the supernatural works to Him. The disciples unequivocally hailed Jesus as Master and Lord.

Ironically, at the crucifixion of Jesus most of His disciples scattered and hid in fear of also being slain. After they had witnessed the resurrected Lord, their attitude changed, and they became fearless witnesses of Jesus, risking their lives each day as they traveled and preached the gospel. In fact, most of the disciples finally were put to death for their stand for Christ. The disciples were ordinary men. They were intelligent, logical and had the same fears as we do. It would have been insane for them to be willing to lay their life down for a fake who presented a phony way of life supported by lies. They were convinced because they witnessed the miracles of Jesus; they saw Him alive after He was crucified and was buried. They saw him as He ascended into heaven and knew He was truly the Lord. The question is what kind of person would be willing to lay down their life for a fake. The answer is no one. The disciples were willing to lay down their life because their faith was well founded and proved. Here are some examples of the sacrifices they made:

The two people who were the less likely to have supported their belief in Christ by laying down their life was Paul and Jesus’ (half) brother James.

Paul: Paul, formerly Saul, was anti-Jesus before he met the Lord on the road to Damascus. He was a Jew but also a Roman citizen by birth. Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee, a sect in Jerusalem, who strongly opposed Jesus. Saul swore to wipe out the newly formed Christian church called “the way.” He received letters from the high priest giving him the authority to arrest the followers of Jesus and bring them to prison. He was on his way to Damascus to carry out his intentions when he was struck down by a blinding light from heaven, brighter than the noonday sun. Only he, not his companions, saw the light and the vision of the resurrected Christ. Paul heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”(Acts 9:4, NIV). Paul asked whom it was that was speaking to him. Jesus said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do,” (Acts 9:5-6, NIV).

Paul was blinded. His companions, who heard the sound but not the voice or vision of Christ, led Paul to Damascus to a street called straight, to the house of Judas.  For a period of three days, Paul was blind and did not eat or drink anything. During this time, Jesus appeared in a vision to Ananias and told him to go to Saul. Ananias was fearful because he knew the reputation of Saul how he had persecuted believers. Jesus assured Ananias that Saul was a chosen vessel to deliver the gospel to the Gentiles. Ananias obeyed and went to find Saul in the house of Judas and informed Saul that Jesus had sent him to restore his sight and that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit. He laid hands on Saul; the scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight, and his strength was returned. Saul remained with the disciples at Damascus for three days before returning to Jerusalem.

After this, Saul changed his name to Paul and commenced one of the greatest ministries of the New Testament. His faith in Jesus ultimately resulted in his martyrdom, in Rome, where he was decapitated. What a turn around for a person who hated Christians to a person who lay down his life for his faith in Jesus. 

James: According to Scripture, James did not believe in Jesus: “For His brothers did not believe in Him,” (John 7:5). The Jewish Historian Josephus wrote that James was martyred in Jerusalem:

“Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned….”  Antiquities, Book 20, Chapter 9.

Let it be noted that Josephus did not claim to be a Christian. His work was to write Jewish history. His writings are extant history of the existence of Jesus as a historical person.

The reason James changed his mind about Jesus is that he saw Him after the resurrection:  Afterward He was seen by James….” (1Co 15:7). Seeing someone alive after seeing him crucified and buried can change a person’s view. It did James and he became a witness for Jesus, and that finally cost him his life.

Thomas: Perhaps you remember Thomas by his nickname “Doubting Thomas.” After the resurrection, Thomas doubted that Jesus was alive and said that he would not believe until he felt the nail scars in His hands. Jesus appeared unto the disciples when Thomas was present and let Thomas feel His nail scared hands. Thomas addressed Him as Lord and went forth a dedicated witness. Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians. He suffered a cruel a painful death as a result of his faith in Christ. He was speared through in the four places in his body with  pine spears; a red-hot iron plate was laid on his chest and he was burned alive at Calamene, a city in India, and was buried there.

Andrew: According to Hippolytus the historian, Andrew was crucified suspended on an olive tree at Patrae, Greece, a town of Achaia, and it was there he was buried.

Bartholomew: According to Hippolytus, Bartholomew was crucified upside down in Allanum, a town in what is the modern day Georgia, and there he was buried.

James, Son of Alphaeus: Hippolytus recorded that James was stoned to death and buried beside the temple in Jerusalem.

James, Son of Zebedee: According to Acts 12:2, James was killed by Herod with the sword. James was the brother of John, who wrote the gospel of John, the three epistles that bear his name and the book of Revelation. John is referred to as the disciple that Jesus loved.

John, brother of James and son of Zebedee: John apparently went through some persecution but escaped the cruel death that befell most of the disciples. According to Hippolytus, he died of old age in Ephesus after  he  had spent most of his latter life alone, exiled on the island of Domitian (Patmos).

Simon/Peter: Hippolytus wrote that Peter was crucified by order of Nero, Emperor of Rome. He was crucified upside down. It is said traditionally that Peter felt unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus.

Philip: Was also crucified upside down, according to Hippolytus, in Hierapolis and was buried there.

Many of Jesus disciples died cruel deaths for preaching the gospel. According  to Pliny’s letters to Trajan, all Christians needed to do to escape a cruel torture and execution was to denounce their faith in Jesus, something they refused to do.

“Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed. For I had no doubt that, whatever the nature of their creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished. There were others possessed of the same folly; but because they were Roman citizens, I signed an order for them to be transferred to Rome.”

(A letter from Pliny to Trajan)

Why did the disciples of Jesus refuse to deny Him even if it meant their death? Was it just because they were brave or just plain stupid? Brave . . .? These same disciples ran and hid before the crucifixion for fear they also would be crucified. People are not willing to die for a lie or a phony. It is not in human nature that any sane person would give up his own life to uphold a belief known to be untrue. They saw something that convinced them so thoroughly that they were willing to die rather than denouncing their faith in Jesus. Contrarily, what they were willing to die for was telling about Jesus’ resurrection and the gospel of salvation through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. They were  willing to put their life on the line to tell others about the saving power of Jesus. It was they, not Jesus, which spread Christianity. It is because of the death burial and resurrection of Jesus and the willingness of His disciples to risk their life to preserve and spread that truth, that you and I can freely receive the good news of salvation and heaven.

No legend has had the impact that Jesus has had on the lives of millions who have experienced changed lives including some of the worlds wisest, most respected, and intelligent men and women.

He was just a man who believed that he was more: Did Jesus actually just think Himself to be God, not being aware that He was only a man, or did He know He was just a man but lied when he claimed to be God?  It is ludicrous to think that Jesus would claim to be God knowing all the time He was merely a man. Not only did He claim to be God but He proved that He was God by His supernatural feats. No one had ever raised the dead until Jesus. No one in history had ever performed the miracles that Jesus performed. Nothing about the life of Jesus indicates that He was deceived about who He was or that He made up the whole thing. Quite to the contrary, His teachings to His disciples do not lend themselves to the babbling of liar or the teachings of an unsound person. They were filled with meaning and the evidence of a highly intelligent teacher. 

He lied about who he was: Was Jesus a liar.  How could He have possibly fooled His disciples into thinking He was the Son of God if He had no more power than they did. They believed because they witnessed His power each day. The old adage that you can fool part of the people part of the time but not all of the people all the time is true in the case of Jesus. He would have never been able to be with His disciples every day for a period of three years and fool them into thinking He was something He was not. The disciples saw when Jesus fed the multitude and raised the dead and healed the lepers. They knew he was genuine.

He was a deranged lunatic: Was Jesus a lunatic.  There was nothing about the profile of Jesus that indicated that he was a lunatic. In fact, the life of Christ is opposite of that of a lunatic. The traits of a lunatic are egotism, dullness, Inability to understand and to love, inflexible, predictable, unstable, paranoia, schizophrenia, impulsive, unwise, and unbalanced. None of those characteristics fits Jesus. No lunatic could show the concern for others, teach the morals, or live with the purest character ever witnessed by man.

Jesus was whom He claimed to be by all indications from the Bible, from extant history, and under girded by the sacrificial life and death of His disciples. Therefore, we can conclude from that, that the heaven Jesus spoke of and promised is all He claimed it to be. Yes, heaven is a real place.

Are you sure that you are going to heaven when you die? If not, and you would like to know how to be sure, read “How to have a relationship with God.”

About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website (Website Contents) in your personal growth.


To subscribe to JimmieBurroughs,com,  simply click on the RSS button on the left, and copy and paste the URL of our RSS feed into your RSS reader. ARTICLE INDEX _________________________________________________________________________________________  © 2011 Jimmie Burroughs. All rights reserved

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Use Music to Build a Strong Memory

Written by Jimmie Burroughs – E-Mail to a friend

Music related muscle memory builds your memory. This is not a new discovery. Ancient cultures have been using music to enhance memory and health for hundreds of years. Muscle memory is related to more than just music only, but music is a proven exceptional vehicle for building a strong memory.

You may be wondering what muscle memory is and why it is important.

Muscle memory is training your muscles to remember certain movements. For example, learning the musical chords on a guitar is training the muscles to direct the fingers to the right position to create the sound of a particular chord. In order for the muscles to be fully trained to make the movements automatically and quickly from one chord to the next, there must be many repetitions.

It has been documented that muscle memory is important in building a strong memory. Scientific tests have proven that learning to play a musical instrument impacts the brain and makes it more effective.  Memory and mental effectiveness can also increase by listening to certain types of music, as we shall see as we move forward.

To become accomplished guitarists requires much practice in order to gain the muscle memory required to play smoothly. The brain can learn to execute hundreds of chords over time, although, with as little a dozen chords you can play many songs. You might be wondering what this has to do with memory. Simply put, muscle memory is the root of our thinking and memory. When you play the guitar or any musical instrument, your mind must go back into the memory banks and retrieve all the various movements required to play a particular song. Over time, you can memorize and store in your memory dozens of songs. This activity builds a strong memory as well as intelligence.

Muscle memory creates the ability to do things with automaticity.  I learned to swim as a child. If I were to go for years without swimming, I could still jump into deep water and swim because my brain would send the memory of how to swim to the muscles automatically. We do not have to think about the process of muscle memory; it comes automatically with no effort. It is not difficult to do multiple muscle memory acts all at the same time without thinking about it. For example, you can drive a car, talk and eat a sandwich at the same time, and the reason is muscle memory.

The muscles are connected to the mind, and the heart or emotions. They work in unison to perform the tasks that you desire to achieve whether it is little everyday tasks or larger goal oriented tasks. Training the muscles to perform the tasks required to play a musical instrument is building your ability to use your memory, mind and emotions more efficiently.

Just listening to certain kinds of music can build memory effectiveness. An experiment conducted by the scientist at the University of California at Irvine, published in the journal Nature, concluded that students who listened for ten minutes to Mozart’s sonata for two pianos in D major scored higher on reasoning tests than students who remained quite for ten minutes.

I started playing the guitar seven years ago. I am not musically talented. I was told years ago that I could not sing, so I believed it. There was some truth to it because I am not a great singer, but I can sing far better than I ever dreamed I could. Over the years, I have learned the chords and lyrics to dozens of songs and play and sing just about ever day. Some of my songs are recorded and can be located on the navigation bar at the top of the page under videos. The greatest reward has been that by memorizing the songs, my ability to think, remember and to use my brain to reason has been strengthened greatly.  

There is an interesting quote, “Practice beats talent when talent doesn’t practice.” The truth of the matter it has taken years of practice for me to learn some of the more difficult songs. I know that a talented musician could learn a song in a relative short time, but remember I am not a talented musician. The good thing is that it takes less time now to learn a song now than it did before. The point I am making is that you do not have to become an accomplished musician to benefit from learning to play an instrument. The results in memory enhancement from learning music and how to play an instrument are worth the effort and for me it is a good hobby and very enjoyable.

Here are five tips on learning to play a musical instrument.

1.      Take lessons on the instrument of your choice. Do not use the excuse that you are too old to take lessons. I was the oldest student that my professional teacher ever taught.

2.      Get into a routine of playing each day. Even if you only play for a few minutes each day, it is valuable in learning to play.

3.      Use repetition. Sing and play a song slowly at first until you learn to play it right; then play it each day until you have it down.

4.      Form the best musical habits to start with. The brain will learn things the wrong way just as easy as it will learn them the right way. However, it is difficult to break a wrong learned habit. This is where a music teacher can be a great help.

5.      Let music create joy in your life. There are many things going on in the world today that can drain all of the joy right out of you. Music, whether playing or listening, can add great joy to your life.

About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website (Website Contents) in your personal growth.


To subscribe to JimmieBurroughs,com,  simply click on the RSS button on the left, and copy and paste the URL of our RSS feed into your RSS reader. ARTICLE INDEX _________________________________________________________________________________________  © 2011 Jimmie Burroughs. All rights reserved

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Simple Techniques for Overcoming loneliness

Website DIVISIONS (Over 600 articles to help you to grow in every facet of your life)

Written by Jimmie Burroughs -  E-mail to a friend

The last song that Elvis Presley sang publicly on stage, in June of 1977 was “Are you Lonesome tonight.” Elvis was obviously nervous when he introduced his very last song, and he said this about loneliness, “I am and I was.” He was one of the most sought after persons in the world. Thousands would have given anything to spend time with him, yet he was a very lonely soul.

Forty percent of the population live alone, and that is a near all time record. However, living alone is not necessarily the cause of loneliness. Loneliness is not caused just by aloneness as proven in the case of Elvis Presley. Some very lonely people are married and have a family or are surrounded by people daily. So, what is the deal with loneliness anyway? Well, that is the purpose of this article, to find out what loneliness is; what causes it; and simple techniques for overcoming loneliness.

Everyone at times experiences loneliness. Ironically, it is more frequent around major holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. The sense of loneliness is not a frequent topic of conversation; many do not understand why it happens, or how to deal with it when it does happen.

So, what is loneliness? Several words describe it: An unpleasant feeling, solitude, emptiness, and a sense of isolation, depression, and painfulness. Loneliness is a subjective feeling, actually an emotion…a drive. The technically definition of loneliness is “A psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual to isolation and motivate him/her to seek social connections.” [1] That definition is the key to understanding loneliness as well as how to cope with it, as we will see as we continue.

An old cliché says, “No man is an island.” Man was not intended to be alone; that is why God created husband and wife to go through life together. In the beginning when God created the first man, Adam, he saw it was not good for man to be alone, so he created Eve as a helpmate. It is apparent that man or woman does better by associating with others. Having someone is of great help in coping with loneliness but sometimes even more is needed. The need is to understand loneliness and take the proper steps to overcome it. Loneliness has some serious consequences if not dealt with.

Loneliness has a wide range of negative and damaging effects to both physical and mental health. Here are some of the health risks that have been related to loneliness:

  • Depression and suicide
  •  Increased levels of stress
  • Heart disease & stroke
  • Antisocial
  • Loss of memory and learning
  • Poor decisions
  • Abuse of alcohol and drugs
  • Reduced brain function
  • More prone to Alzheimer’s disease

Some of the obvious traits of a person dealing with loneliness are Over competitiveness, fear, anger, poor listening skills, lack of knowledge, impatience, depending too much on others, selfishness, and overwhelmed. It may also be noted that causes of loneliness vary widely. A child is affected differently than an older person. The older person may be struggling with having lost their mate and may be having trouble just getting on with their life. The child may be a victim of bullying or has trouble making friends at school.

It is interesting to note that the traits listed above, concerning a person experiencing loneliness, are also some of the same things that personal development deals with. Dealing with those things, which cause loneliness, is just one of the benefits of personal development. Personal development enables a person to deal with and adjust to all the issues of life including loneliness.

John Cacioppo, a University of Chicago psychologist and one of the top loneliness experts, says, “Loneliness is strongly connected to genetics [sometimes runs in a family]. Other contributing factors include situational variables, such as physical isolation, moving to a new location and divorce. The death of someone significant in a person’s life can also lead to feelings of loneliness. Loneliness can also be a symptom of a psychological disorder such as depression.”

It is important to note that the emotion of loneliness is a God given drive. Like other drives, it is intended to help man when used correctly. Remember the definition of loneliness given above: “A psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual to isolation and motivate him/her to seek social connections.” Notice how we can use the same definition to define other drives. For instance, the hunger drive: “A psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual to the need for nutrition and motivate him/her to seek some food.” I hope you are beginning to get the picture of how drives have an intended purpose. The means of coping with the loneliness drive is best comprehended when loneliness itself is understood.

There are many drives such as the hunger drive, the sex drive, the anger drive and the fear drive, to name a few;  all of which have their own means of being fulfilled or coped with. For example, the sex drive is given for a married couple to feel and experience extreme pleasure and the closest intimacy. When the sex drive is misused, as in the case of fornication, adultery, premarital sex or extramarital sex, it can be very harmful and damaging and even life threatening. The same is true with loneliness.

It may be hard to comprehend that loneliness is intended to be something positive, but when used right it is. Loneliness is intended to warn and to motivate a person that social interaction is needed. Older cars had a red warning oil light on the dash, and when it flashed on, you knew you needed to add oil to keep from damaging the engine. It is true also when we are warned by the loneliness drive that we are low on human interaction and need to add some to avoid damaging our mind and body. A better way of stating it would be that when we are lonely, that is an indication that change is needed.

If your hunger drive begins sending you a message in the form of hunger pains, the way you cope with it is by finding some food and eating (I do not think I need to elaborate on how the hunger drive can be misused). Eating does not mean that the hunger drive is forever satisfied because in a few hours you are going to get the same message again. Loneliness works similar, although, thank goodness, not as often. When you receive a message from the loneliness drive, you cope with it by making some changes in lifestyle. Just like the hunger drive, it will not forever solve it, and later you will have to cope again. Learning ways to cope with loneliness is the secret.

Simple things for overcoming loneliness:

Join a group. Recently I begin to feel a bit of loneliness. I live alone and spend many hours working alone on my computer. I realized that I was spending far too much time by myself, not seeing enough people, talking, and socializing. I, therefore, joined a Bible study at church and began going more places where people are and making it a point to talk with them. Since I presently live by the sea, and there are usually people on the pier or the beach, it is easy to meet and talk with people. I have talked with some interesting folks lately from around the world who are here vacationing. Since I know a lot about the area, they are usually interested in talking. Regardless where you may live, there are always groups you can join or places to meet and talk with people.

Volunteer for something you believe in: My wife died about 9 years ago. It was a very difficult time for me, and I was very lonely and all alone in a big house. I had a business at the time, and I realized that what I needed was a completely new lifestyle. I went about it slowly as should be the case after losing a mate; it took almost two years to complete. By the end of those two, years, I had bought a motor home, turned my home over to my daughter and her family to live in, and joined an organization that did volunteer mission work. Within the next 3 years, I traveled in 37 states, met many new people, made many new friends and helped many people. It saved me from my loneliness and commenced an exciting new lifestyle.

Build new relationships and strengthen old ones: The support from good friends is like a medicine for loneliness. There are many places to make new friends. Church is an excellent place and online a another, but you must be careful online because you never know to what sort of person you may be talking. Stress Management Forum is a good online place to get started, where you can find others who are also dealing with similar problems, but always exercise caution on the Internet and don’t give out any personal information, especially your home address, telephone number, bank account numbers or Social Security numbers, etc.

Get yourself a pet, preferably a dog: I have both a dog and a cat. The cat is an outside pet while my dog is an inside pet. It seems as if I am being a little personal here and perhaps I am since I have had to cope with some extreme loneliness myself. Actually, my dog came in a roundabout way. My wife always wanted a Westie (West Highland Terrier). It was not until she got sick that I finally agreed. Sadly, she only lived about 10 months, and I inherited the little dog. His name is McDuff, and he has truly been a lifesaver to me in helping me to get on with my life.

They say that dogs are the only thing that loves another more than they do themselves. I do not necessarily agree, but I know it is true of McDuff. He truly loves me and always wants to be with me. He has far more than earned his keep by being a true companion.


There is no 100% cure for loneliness, since it is an emotion and not a disease. For sure, it  requires the appropriate action. In addition, sometimes you may just have to learn to live with a little loneliness when it seems stubborn and refuses to go away. I do, but I still go about the most important business in my life. The truth of the matter is I do not believe you ever get completely past losing someone that is such a part of your life as a loving mate. There will always remain a lonely place in your heart for them. However, that does not have to take control of your life. There are too many exciting things yet to come; there is too much to be done, and too much to be accomplished to be hindered by loneliness.

[1] Wikipedia Definition  for loneliness

About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website (Website Contents) in your personal growth.


To subscribe to JimmieBurroughs,com,  simply click on the RSS button on the left, and copy and paste the URL of our RSS feed into your RSS reader. ARTICLE INDEX _________________________________________________________________________________________  © 2011 Jimmie Burroughs. All rights reserved

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Growing up Poor but Happy

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Written by Jimmie Burroughs Email this article to a friend

I grew up very poor but did not know it because everyone who lived around me was poor also. There was no TV, so I was ignorant of how the rich lived. Neither did I know a rich person until I was grown. My parents moved into a 3-room bungalow when I was five years old, an old farmhouse that had been taken into the city limits. It still had a large old barn with a hayloft. The street was dirt, and in the summer when it was dry, there was about a half inch of dust built up. I can still imagine the dust squishing between my toes as I walked down the street; it felt so good.

Dad paid $7 a month rent. That was not bad since a day’s wages was around $5. There were no utilities, no running water or electricity. There was a deep well out back with a long cylinder and a rope to lower into the well for water. Inside there was a living room that served also as a bedroom, with a bed and a potbellied stove, and a battery operated radio that dad used to listen to the Amos and Andy show, and the Lone Ranger, and maybe the Green Hornet. There were also three or four cane back chairs and an oil lamp. The floors, walls and ceiling were all made of center match wooden boards. There was also badly worn linoleum on the floor with chunks missing around the edge. The best I can remember, the walls were grungy and had never been painted. Mom was a good housekeeper, and there was never any junk lying around. Dad kept the yard the same way.

The kitchen was furnished with a cabinet like the ones you see in antique stores today with the flour bin and a small storage place for pots and pans and a few groceries. The coal oil cooking stove blew up occasionally and kept a large black spot on the ceiling. The remaining furniture was a table with four chairs. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the icebox was on the back porch where the iceman could easily keep it stocked with ice during summer months. In wintertime dad had a wooden box attached to the outside of the kitchen window; the window could be raised, and food stored there. In the bedroom, there was a bedside table with an oil lamp, and a chest of drawers. I do not believe any of the doors had locks, if so, they were never used and I cannot remember ever seeing a door key. Important to mention also is that there was an outhouse inside the barn, a one hole; we did have some class. There was also a sears catalogue, and it was not for reading.

I’m sure it sounds weird to you the way we lived back then compared to how we now live, but there couldn’t have been a happier little boy growing up than I. I loved living there. I had the four large oak trees with the toe sack, bag swing and a lot of shade to play under. The house was high enough to crawl under, sit down, dig holes, and make little lakes, streams, and roads for little wooden play cars. There was a creek nearby for fishing, and the old swimming hole where I learned to swim. And the barn, what a great place for corncob fights with the neighborhood kids, and there was always plenty of ammunition. Dad always kept the barn well stocked with hay to feed the cattle he pastured on a farm just a block down the street. The bales of hay in the loft were great for building  hideouts.

When I was older, dad would give me a quarter on Saturday to go to a movie, which was always westerns: Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, or Lash Laure. There was also enough change left over from the quarter for a soft drink and a bag of popcorn. The word bored was not in my vocabulary, and until this day, I still do not use it.

What a different world we live in today where kids just exercise their thumbs testing and sit around the house eating snacks, playing video games and complaining about being bored.

Baths were not all that frequent in those days, but occasionally the #3 washtub was set out in the summer sun to warm water for a bath. During the winter, the water was warmed on the potbelly stove. I do not remember how often we bathed, but it must not have been more than once a week. I do remember mom giving me a sponge bath out of a wash pan at the end of the day before bedtime.

When I was twelve, dad bought me a new bicycle. It cost $65, a lot of money in those days, and was the prettiest bike I had ever seen and by far the greatest thing I had ever owned. $65 in those days was more than a week’s wages. No one in my neighborhood had a bike like that one. I have never been prouder of anything than I was that bike, not even my first new convertible.

Those were some of the happiest years of my life, only a few toys, not even a telephone and of course no TV. My dad did not even own a car until I was a teenager.

People ate healthier in those days. During the summer, it was mostly garden vegetables, and in winter, it was beans and potatoes and cornbread, and sometimes-wild meat dad hunted or chicken, which he raised. There was an occasional blackberry cobbler made from wild blackberries that grew in the woods nearby or from due berries that grew along the railroad tracks.

The house I described above was a wonderful place to live with the barn to play in and large trees in the yard for shade. It was less than 500 square feet in size and those days would probably have sold for only a few hundred dollars. I do not think at that time in my life the kind of house I lived in would have made much difference. In fact, I do not think it has ever made much difference. I have lived in small houses and large ones and cannot say it ever mattered much which it was.

A couple of years ago the largest house in the world was completed at the cost of one billion dollars. It is 27 stories tall and is 392,000 square feet. Ironically, it is in India where one third of the poorest people in the world live and starvation is pandemic. I wonder how a little boy would feel living in a house like that where he could get lost and not found for days, and no dirt to play in, or toe sack swing. Wow! It must be awful boring.

Every story should make a point. The point of this story is not not that being poor makes a person happy, nor does being rich make a person happy. Happiness goes beyond the material things of life. I have tried to analyze my own life to determine what made me happy during the happiest times and have discovered that it was not because of the house I lived in or the things I owned but rather my attitude toward life. It was those times that I had the greatest passion for living and enjoyed doing the things I did.  

It is now a new day, and I have resumed my writing. My subconscious mind must have worked on the topic all night because it was on my mind when I awoke this morning. Here’s what I’ve determined: I think it is first the relationships in life, and second the things we do, and third the people we are around that promotes happiness or takes away from it. I read yesterday, “You are as happy as you choose to be.” I think a better way of saying it would be, “You are as happy as the choices you make.” I chose to have a relationship with God; I chose to have a mate that I could be happy with; I choose to do things that make me happy; I choose to be around people that I enjoy. The times in my life that I was unhappy were the times I was doing something that didn’t make me happy and was around people who seemed to make it their purpose in life to try and make me as miserable as they.

Sometimes all it takes to spoil your happiness is an arrogant and hateful boss, or a mean and unpleasant person that you must constantly have deal with. In my lifetime, I have dealt with both, but not ever again. If you find yourself in that kind of circumstance, there is only one solution, and that is to move on to a new job (Preferably become your own boss as I did) or remove yourself from the presence of people who are difficult people to be around, which I did, and I do. Therefore, to reiterate, happiness is an attitude enhanced by the relationships you have, the things you do, and the people with whom you spend your time.

About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website (Website Contents) in your personal growth.


To subscribe to JimmieBurroughs,com,  simply click on the RSS button on the left, and copy and paste the URL of our RSS feed into your RSS reader. ARTICLE INDEX _________________________________________________________________________________________  © 2011 Jimmie Burroughs. All rights reserved

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The Difference Between Perception and Absolute Truth

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Written by Jimmie Burroughs Email to a friend

Your perception may tell you that the image to your left is some species of a monkey, but that would be wrong. That is a picture of a rare flower.

Only truth and untruth are pure reality; all else is a perception of truth and can vary and exist in many shades. Scientific facts are only a scientist’s perception of what may be true at a given time. It may be truth or it could be a shade of truth that misses the mark of being absolute truth. That is why the half mile of science books in the Louvre Museum, in Paris France, are no longer relevant. What once was considered to be a scientific fact no longer measures up to new knowledge?  Perception is an important facet of truth, but it is directed more to learning about what absolute truth is as you shall see further in the article.

During the time of Christopher Columbus, the scientific perception of the world was that it was flat; therefore, it was possible to sail right off the edge. However, Columbus did not accept the scientific perception of his day. Columbus said in his personal memoirs that he was led by the Spirit of God. He apparently put more confidence in the Bible than he did science. No doubt he knew that verse of scripture “He sitteth on the circle of the earth,” -Isaiah 40:22. The word translated circle means globe, not a flat geometrical circle.

Growing up, Columbus was said to sit on the dock and watch approaching ships; he observed that he could only see the tops of the masts at first, and then more and more of the ship as it drew closer. He came to the conclusion from this observation, along with the Biblical account, that the earth must be round. His perception would become the reality of absolute truth when he actually sailed around the world to discover the western hemisphere.

How much or how little do we know today of absolute truth? We know it is absolutely true that water freezes at 32 degrees, but not all water; ocean water freezes at around 28 degrees. We know it is absolutely true that the body needs oxygen, food and water to survive, and of course we know many other things to be factual. But, for example, do we know with absolute certainty where man came from? We have two perceptions (theories). It is either that a higher intelligence that we call God created man, or man just happened due to random selection over billions of years through a process of evolution. Since neither of the two theories can be proven, because, in fact, no one was there to witness the creation nor has evolution been observed, either must be accepted by faith.

We must determine which we consider to be absolute truth, whether it is in the idea that there really is a God who is far beyond our understanding, who created something as complex as human life, or is evolution the absolute truth which contends that everything came from nothing. There is no disputing the fact that either way it takes a lot of faith. So what is best; just blindly to believe what we have been taught or told by others, as the people of Columbus’s day believed the earth was flat because it was the scientific perception of the day? Or should we, like Columbus, do some thinking on our own and come to a conclusion as to what we personally perceive to be absolute truth based on the evidence that we have? We know that there are only two realities, either truth or untruth:, so it is either intelligent design or creation by random selection (evolution). It can’t be both; one is true, and the other is false.

Before we can make such a decision, we must have knowledge, knowledge of evolution and knowledge of intelligent design. Remember, perception is learning and not necessarily absolute truth; however, our perception is important to coming to the truth. What is your present perception of God? Can you answer all the questions about God? Where did God come from? How can God have always existed? How could God possibly speak things into existence? The truth is that no one can answer any of those three questions with certainty. Does that mean that God does not exist? Just because we don’t have complete knowledge on any subject, does not mean it is untrue. We do have some knowledge of God from his word, the Bible, and from his creation all about us. From the knowledge we have, we must determine if it is adequate to believe there is a God.

The same holds true for evolution. Can you answer the question as to how anything can come out of nothing? Can you answer the question as to how something as complex as the human body could just happen accidentally by random selection? Or can you answer why the universe is governed by absolute laws that do not change or vary while evolution is based on continual change without any governing laws? When you have the knowledge of the evolution theory, you realize that it too must be accepted by faith and a lot of it.

What we do know is that knowledge and truth are so vast that it is impossible for any one person to have more that a tiny fraction of it. If you study the Bible, you could have more knowledge and truth about God than the most brilliant scientist who does not study the Bible and who believes it’s untrue.

It is your individual responsibility to come to an understanding of the difference in perception and absolute truth. Evolution is a perception held by some; intelligent design is a perception held by others. And since we do not know the absolute truth, it comes down to what we know to be true as to which we will trust. You must decide for yourself, but as for me there is no contest; faith in God makes so much more sense, but then I speak for myself.

Many today have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as absolute truth; therefore, nothing really matters. These would also believe evolution since it has no specific design or purpose. If you ask someone who believes there is no absolute truth, if they can they be absolutely sure what they believe is true. Their answer can only be no; otherwise they contradict themselves.

Much of what people believe today is only a perception and not based on absolute truth. Much of our beliefs are those that are passed down to us by our ancestors. There are religious denominations, for example, that base their theological beliefs on what one man determined was the truth scores of years ago, even if it does not equate with what the Bible teaches.

Groups sometimes determine what is to be considered absolute truth, and it can turn out to something as radical as a terrorist’s organization whose purpose it is to kill as many innocent people as possible. Or a group likes the Nazi White Supremacists who operate out of racial hate. The sad part is that people who participate in such organizations are not thinking independently but allowing someone else to think for them and dictate what truth is or isn’t.


Sometimes it is necessary to depend on what others have discovered to be absolute truth. If you need surgery, you have to trust the surgical team to know the absolute truth concerning the procedure. On the other hand, it is poor judgment always to accept at face value everything that is said and taught by others. Ignorance always is gullible, but wisdom and knowledge are king when it comes to determine the difference between perception and absolute truth.

About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website (Website Contents) in your personal growth.

_______________________________________________________________________________   To subscribe to blog simply click on the RSS button on the left, and copy and paste the URL of our RSS feed into your RSS reader. ARTICLE INDEX _______________________________________________________________________________    © 2011 Jimmie Burroughs. All rights reserved

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The Human Brain is Incredibly Powerful

Neuron Stock ImageThe human brain is large, and it’s extremely powerful. It has the ability to dream up innovative solutions to complex problems. The brain is a brilliant resource to help us in everything that we do. It has a 100 billion neurons plus an additional network of neurons with the ability to communicate with each other at the speed of light. It is impossible for us to keep up with the speed of the brain. For the most part, it operates in our best interest with little effort on our part. However, it is capable of far more than we request of it.

We make most of our decisions by using our conscious mind. However, there is much more powerful ways to make decisions by incorporating your conscious mind with your sub-conscious mind. Although there is but one brain, it incorporates the use of separate entities; two of the primary entities are the conscious and the sub-conscious mind. The sub-conscious mind is on duty 24/7 and is a million times more powerful than the conscious mind. You are the president and CEO of your life. You have at your disposal   a most powerful employee, your sub-conscious mind. Do not put it in reserve or let it become lazy because of inactivity. The following are five ways to activate the power of your sub-conscious mind. They are the keys to unlocking success in every area of your life. Once you learn the secret of aligning your conscious and your sub-conscious mind, success will come in waves with little effort. Successful people know and apply this secret and so can you once you learn the simple process. All that you will need is to put in use these five simple principles:

1.      Using your conscious mind, set some practical goals and ways you might reach those goals. Keep the goals before you and recite them regularly. Go over your goals the last thing at night before you fall to sleep,. Your sub-conscious mind will be aware of what you want to accomplish and will go to work using its full power to work out possible solutions.

If you have no goals, you are giving your sub-conscious mind nothing to work with. Some are like the man who planned to take a vacation but had nowhere in mind to go. Someone asks him where he is going for vacation and he says, “I don’t know. I am just heading out and waiting to see where I wind up.” Your purpose in life is far too important to have no idea which direction you are going. However, many take that road in life and let it take them wherever it happens to wind up. There is a better and more successful way by planning the direction you want your life to take and to set some goals on how to get there. Remove all frustration and focus on the positive things you have in mind to accomplish. Remember that thought is only a forerunner; it is the engagement that brings the clarity of your purpose.

Talk to your mind and tell it what you want it to do. Fill in all the details you can think of and then let it go to work on it. After some time, your brain will begin to fire solutions and ideas at you for you to take into consideration.

2.      When you awake in the morning, do not waste your brains resources by dreading and worrying about the day ahead. Instead, be thankful for your life and the opportunities open to you. Enter the day with passion for doing all that is required of you from fixing your breakfast to the largest responsibility at hand. Your passion will become contagious, and others will want to know what you are up to and will want to get in on your excitement about life.

Reaffirm your aspirations audibly to your brain so the priority will be clear. Make your ideas and mantra clear to your brain with enthusiasm and repetition. The sub-conscious mind thrives on repetition. Doing this the first thing in the morning gives the brain a power boost to begin the day on a positive note.

3.      Treat your brain like a super computer. Infuse new information. Use all the resources at your disposal to gain new information. Manage your time and avoid wasting it in passive ways such as too much television. Use motivational tapes. Engage your own personal development program. You may want to try watching subliminal videos on personal development. Subliminal videos touch on some of the most important aspects of our lives. They encourage develop and cultivate – productivity, social skills, and manifestation.

4.   Focus on positive things and avoid the negative. Remember, you are training and aligning your conscious and sub-conscious mind; therefore, the material you accumulate will influence the process. I recommend Maria Forleo web T.V. for inspirational, positive material for your thoughts, and of course, I recommend the articles on this website, Christian Personal Development. There are many resources for building up positive thinking. For example, books like “Think and grow rich,” by Neapolitan Hill, “The power of positive thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peal, “How to win friends and influence people,” and “How to stop worrying and start living,” by Andrew Carnegie. These are all classics that you definitely should read.

5.      Believe in yourself and know in your heart that your will achieve what you set out to accomplish. Have the confidence that you and your brain can solve every problem. You do not have to worry any longer. Turn your problems over to your sub-conscious mind and trust it for a workable solution. If your brain tells you to worry, tell it that you refuse to waste your and its resources doing something that will never help anything, but only worsen it. Let your brain know that you are depending on its intelligence to come through for you. Having a dialogue with your brain is not insanity; it is intelligently discussing the dreams you want to accomplish and to encourage your brain to do its necessary work in accomplishing your dreams.

Start today to align your conscious mind with your sub-conscious mind. It will increase your ability to become successful in all that you do. Otherwise, you will continue to reinforce bad ideas and decisions and your life will continue to be a struggle.


The Bible says that there is a broad road, that many are on, that leads to destruction, and   a narrow road, that only a few find, that leads to life. Whether it is in this life on earth or life after death, you decide which road you will take. With the help of your intelligent brain, you can take the narrow road that leads to success in life. You can also choose the narrow roads which leads to eternal life. If you are interested in knowing how to take God’s narrow road to eternal life, read the step by step instructions on how to have a relationship with God.

About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website (Website Contents) in your personal growth.


To subscribe to JimmieBurroughs,com,  simply click on the RSS button on the left, and copy and paste the URL of our RSS feed into your RSS reader. ARTICLE INDEX _________________________________________________________________________________________  © 2011 Jimmie Burroughs. All rights reserved

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