Category: Jody Bennett

Keeping your eyes on the prize

Aussie icon Cliffy Young epitomised a persistant endurance we would all do well to emulate.

POTATO farmer Clifford Young became an Australian legend in 1983, winning the ultramarathon between Sydney and Melbourne ten hours ahead of his nearest competitor.

Clifford Young 

But what made Young’s win truly astonishing was that he was 61 years old at the time, and showed up for the race wearing overalls and gumboots, minus his dentures! Cliffy, as he became affectionately known, also ran with a slow, loping shuffle, and, compared to all the younger, kitted out athletes with their fast pace, it didn’t look like he had a hope.

What Cliffy did have, though, was endurance. Over the five-day race, while his competition slept for six hours a night, Cliffy just kept running, sustaining an average speed of 6.5 km/h (4 mph), and eventually finishing almost two days faster than the previous record.

It sounds like the story of the tortoise and the hare doesn’t it?

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Finding a cure for cancer

Published March 2019

CANCER is everywhere. My father died of brain cancer, my mother survived breast cancer, my brother had skin cancer removed and my grandmother died of bowel cancer. I myself have a suspected slow-growing lung cancer and can think of six people off the top of my head whom I know are currently fighting or have recently battled the disease.

I’m sure most of you can too.

Now comes an astounding announcement from a team of Israeli scientists that they have discovered the first true cure for all types of cancer! One of them told The Jerusalem Post, “We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer.”

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What I wish I could give my kids this Christmas

Published December 2018

As I write, it is the beginning of October and time to start thinking about accumulating gifts for various family members for Christmas. The shops are already putting up decorations and the catalogues are flowing in thick and fast.

So many choices, so much stuff, such a lot of gadgets and gizmos. Apparently, according to the US National Retail Federation projections, this year Americans will spend a staggering $600 billion on Christmas, and I’m sure us Aussies are not far behind.

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We don’t wear signs

A WOMAN was driving in the traffic when she got stuck behind a very slow moving car. Just as she was getting annoyed, she saw a sign in the back window that said: Learning stick [shift], sorry for any delay.

Instantly she was more patient with the driver ahead.

It reminds me of another story I heard about a man on a train with his unruly kids, who were jumping around and causing mayhem until another passenger complained about the man’s lack of parenting.

The distracted father responded: “I’m sorry, we’re just coming back from their mother’s funeral.”

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The power of a single decision

IN 2007, after some months of house hunting, I bought a house after seeing it once – before my husband had even viewed it (although he said I could go ahead), in an area we knew nothing about, where we knew no one and at the other end of the city from where we had been renting.

I look back now and I think about how profoundly that decision has influenced my family’s lives. It determined where the children went to school, the friends and acquaintances we made, the volunteering we have done and even where I work.

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Facing up to failure

Published October 2017

IN the last issue Challenge led with the Christian testimony of actor Chris Pratt. The same month, just after we went to press, the story broke that Chris and his wife, Anna Farris are splitting up. Rumour has it Jennifer Lawrence may be involved. While it is a credit to the pair that their spilt does not seem to be acrimonious, and they haven’t actually said they are divorcing yet, it is disappointing news.
Disappointing because as soon as someone “comes out” as a Christian, people expect perfection and are intolerant of any moral failure on their part.

However, as I heard expressed recently, if we expect to find sick people in a hospital, we should expect to find broken people in a church – it is a place where those who have acknowledged their own failures and their need for a higher power, are able to go to find forgiveness and healing. Church is not a place for perfect people and anyone who has had anything to do with Christians will admit that most of them are far from it.

So then, what is the good of faith? Well, it may not make us perfect (this side of eternity) to become followers of Jesus, but it certainly makes us better than we would be relying on our own resources. Many people CAN testify how turning their lives over to God has set them free from addictions, restored relationships, mended marriages and broken chains of the past. However, for most people these things do not happen instantly and each Christian is on a journey called sanctification that is taking us towards perfection and will continue our whole lives.

For those outside the church the failure of Christians to live up to their doctrines should be a powerful reminder that it is not Christians who should be idolised and worshipped, no matter how saintly or successful they may seem, but it is their God who should be worshipped … because the God of the Bible is indeed perfect, unchanging, completely reliable, absolutely trustworthy and morally incorruptible.

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Disappointment with God

THIS paper is filled with success stories about people who have found God, been set free from their addictions, been healed emotionally and physically, had their marriages restored and found a peace and joy that was previously unknown. As a result of this, you may be forgiven for thinking that giving your life to Jesus will fix all your problems and make your life rosy.

The truth is, though, that in the Christian life there will likely be deep disappointments and unanswered prayers.

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Our faith is not blind

WORLD SIGHT DAY is on the 13th of October, celebrating our physical sight – a wonderful gift and a vital sense that helps us interpret and evaluate our environment.

However, there are many real and important things that are not visible to us like energy, love, and gravity.

What about faith? An oft-quoted Christian phrase is “we walk by faith and not by sight” but is it really true that “faith is blind”?

Homicide detective J. Warner Wallace, in his 2013 book entitled Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, discusses how, as a religious sceptic, he investigated the death of Jesus Christ and the evidence for God in the same manner he investigates cold cases (unsolved murders of the past) in his job.

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Virtual reality can ease the pain

ACCORDING to a recent news report from The Atlantic: “The idea of using VR to reduce the distress of medical procedures was pioneered at the University of Seattle, Washington, where cognitive psychologist Hunter Hoffman and colleagues have developed a VR game called SnowWorld, to help patients endure wound care for severe burns.

“The researchers hoped that the illusion of being physically immersed in a three-dimensional computer-generated scene would move patients’ attention away from their real-world pain. It worked: Hoffman’s team has since shown in trials that SnowWorld reduces patients’ pain during wound-care sessions by up to 50 percent, as well as reducing pain-related brain activity.

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