Articles by Stan Dean


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In 1989 I decided to buy a new car. I did not have any real experience in car buying. In fact, up to that point, I had driven only what I could afford- - and that was not much. But I started making a little more money and figured it was time to step up. So I did a little research and concluded that a Honda Accord would most suit my needs.

It was a fine automobile, but that it not the reason for bringing it up here. I went to the car lot and picked out the color, options and such that I liked the most. In fact, I had never seen one exactly like it; that is, until a day or so after I bought it. As I proudly drove it down the road I started spotting other cars that looked like a carbon copy to mine. It seemed as though a lot of other people had the same idea as I did.

Later, I found that this is not an unusual phenomenon for any of us and it happens with far more than automobiles. For example, have you ever learned a new word you thought to have never heard before, but then you hear it used a lot by others shortly after you learn it? It appears that everybody suddenly started using that word!

Behavioral scientists attribute this experience to our Reticular Activating System or RAS. There is no need for me to give a technical explanation of RAS, because I am not so sure I understand it myself. However, what I do understand about RAS is basically we see things that we are prepared to see. Those cars that were just like mine did not appear out of nowhere; I was just not aware of them before. The same could be said about new words and a host of other things.

RAS comes into play with spiritual matters, too. There is no need anyone has that is any greater than being right with God. But those who give no emphasis to their spiritual well-being cannot see it (cf. Acts 24:25). Yet, it never fails, for those who acknowledge their spiritual need and become Christians to consider it the greatest decision of their lives (cf. Philippians 3:8). That need is there for all of us. Have you opened your eyes to it?

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