Tuesday, February 4, 2014

They changed the rules to the game of Life!

 Today, we had a snow day!

You might not believe this, but teachers look forward to snow days just as much as students do.  And, as a mom, I love being confined to home with my kids because I love spending time with them.  But, the lesson in this blog is not about the importance of spending time with family.

My boys asked if I would play The Game of Life.

This is one of my least favorite games we own.  I don't like it for many reasons, but mainly because the purpose of the Hasbro game is to become richer than anybody else and that is NOT the purpose of Life. But, the meaning of Life is not the lesson of this blog.

The paper copy of the rules to our board game was lost many years ago.  Since I usually find some excuse to not play this game, my oldest has been establishing the rules as best she can remember for a long time.  I like rules, real rules, so I took my trusty iPad and Googled the rules to The Game of Life by Hasbro.  But, this blog is not a lesson in how to use your resources and your technology to problem solve.

Much to my dismay, the rules found on the Hasbro website don't even match the materials provided in my 2007 version.  They had rules about Automobile and Homeowner Insurance Policies and were missing rules about Spin to Win.

How did the rules to Life change so quickly?

How can you even play the game if you don't know the rules?  This got me thinking about a conversation I had recently with a teenage student of mine.  We were having a difference of opinion about whether telling someone to "shut up" was an okay thing to do.  This young person said to me that she had heard people tell each other to shut up so many times that she honestly did not think it was wrong.

Ugh!  It felt like I was punched in the gut.  How did the rules of what is acceptable to say get changed? How can such unkind words be so commonplace?  No wonder we are so confused living in a society where the rules are constantly changing!  And then I thought about it and I realized something important.

Here's the lesson.  I hope you get it.

The rules have not changed.

Your big sister cannot make up new rules.  A company cannot change the rules.  You cannot decide what the rules are because of what everyone else around you is doing.  Even the government cannot redefine the rules. The reason for this is quite simple.

God made the rules.

You will be held accountable to His rules and standards.  The good news is He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

So, my friends, this life is a lot less confusing if you know the authentic rules.
The resource you need is the Bible.
You'll find all you need to know to participate in the real game of life.  Use your technology; there is an app for that.  Spend some time with your family discussing God's ways.  As an added bonus, you may even discover the purpose of life.

Ready to get started?

Do you want to know about the words "shut up"?  Check out Ephesians 4:29
Do you want to know about how to act towards your parents?  Check out Exodus 20:12
Do you want to know the secret to a long life?  Check out Exodus 20:12
Do you want to know what to look for in a friend?  Check out Proverbs 13:20
Do you want to know what not to look for in a friend?  Check out Proverbs 22:24-25
Do you want to know what God has to say about sex?  Check out Hebrews 13:4

It is all in there.  If you have a question and can't find the answer in the Bible yourself, ask someone to help you.  Ask me.  You should know the truth of who God is and how he has provided directions for living this game of life.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Love One Another

School has started and we are all so very busy, so let me keep this short.

Can you name the other Christians at your school?
Stop for a moment and think about who they are.

Now, think about how you treat them.

Jesus told his disciples:

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”

John 13:35

If I were to be honest with you, I would have to say that there are times in my life when I have gone to school with, worked with, and even gone to church with Christians that I don't really like very much. It is such a challenge to me to love all my brothers and sisters in Christ like Jesus loves.

That just sounds so mean and nasty written there in black and white, but it is the truth.

So this challenge is for me.

This challenge is for you.

If you are a disciple of Christ, Jesus is calling you to really love other disciples.

Pray about it. God will reveal who you need to love on more and give you the power to do it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tale of the Rain Jackets

Our family recently went on vacation to Florida. Before we left, I checked the weather of the Sunshine State to discover that Tropical Storm Debby was dumping rain in the region. Rain jackets were added to our packing list.

Vacation. Day one. Hollywood Studios. The three o'clock Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun parade begins under dark, threatening clouds. Sure enough, rain begins to pour in buckets. I'm talking cloudburst, deluge, flood, drencher, inundation, monsoon, torrential rain. The moment brings new meaning the to phrase, "Don't rain on my parade."

Those of us who didn't have them on already, quickly don our rain jackets and start running through instantly forming pools of water.

When we reach a dry spot under a large table umbrella, we discover that several of us are soaking wet. My mother-in-law is thoroughly soaked because she did not put her rain poncho on correctly. She simply put the hood over her head and left the rest floating behind her like a cape. This was extremely ineffective in keeping her dry.

Three of us discover that our rain jackets were not really rain jackets. Oh, they looked like rain jackets. They felt like rain jackets. But, when the rain came down, they did not do the job of a rain jacket. They did not keep us dry. The water soaked right through.

Later in our trip to Florida, we attended a conference for church. One of the speakers taught from Matthew 7. Hang with me here. It really is important to read the whole thing. Jesus is talking to you.

3 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Believe it or not, this made me think of our rain jackets.
What good is having a rain jacket that doesn't keep you dry?
What good is being a Christian, a Christ follower if I don't do the will of my Father, if I don't hear His Words and daily put them into practice.
It sure did make me stop and think. I hope it does the same for you.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Starting July 27, London will host the Olympics.

Back in 1992, a runner by the name of Derek Redmond was competing in the 400 meter semi-finals of the summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Spain. His demonstration of athletic perseverance made history that day.

Derek's story was already one of perseverance. Four years earlier, he was set to compete in Seoul, South Korea when a problem with his Achilles tendon forced him to cancel participation in the race at the last moment. Derek spent the next four year persevering on a daily basis to reach his goal of returning to the Olympics.

Four years, five surgeries and countless hours of rehabilitation and training brought him back to the Olympics.

Just watch his race.

This is real perseverance.

What struck me was that the only help he accepted was from his father.

If you need help persevering through whatever you are going through, lean hard on your heavenly Father and the Word.

This is what Paul did. Read the words he gives to Timothy:

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Now I know, sometimes it is hard to keep running the race. The things the Lord asks of us are not easy.
Preach the Word.
Be prepared.
Keep your head in all situations.
Endure hardships.
Complete all your ministry duties.
This is no short list.
But remember, your Father is there for you to lean on, to cry on, to encourage you until you run, walk or maybe even crawl across the finish line.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

How to not get lost: 101

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

Main Street, USA

Shortly after moving to Florida in 1982, my dad took us to Magic Kingdom at Disney World. When I say us, I mean the five youngest kids that still lived at home: Joe, Sylvia, Booner, Sand-e and me.

I was the smallest at barely eight-years-old and walking down Main Street USA was a bit overwhelming. If you have never been there, you should know that the walkways can get extremely crowded.

Our family snaked its way throughout the park going from one ride to another. We were not accustomed to the heat and humidity of the south. By the end of the afternoon, we were growing weary.

Somewhere in a box, I have a picture of us standing in front of Cinderella's Castle. In all honesty, I don't remember having the picture taken. I don't even remember the rides at all, even though I know we fit in quite a few.

This is what I remember from that day.

We were snaking down the street and I was following my brother, Booner. I focused my eyes on his back and followed him closely so I wouldn't get lost in the crowd. After a few moments, Booner turned around and asked, "Have you seen Sylvia?"

"What? Have I seen Sylvia? No. I'm following you. You were supposed to be following Sylvia." And of course, I started to cry.

Because we were lost.

Separated from my dad.

In Disney World.

Living in Colorado and having been fishing in the mountains, we both knew exactly what to do when you get lost.

Stay put.

We sat on the edge of the sidewalk and waited. I continued to cry. (That part is optional.)

Though it felt like forever to me, in a few minutes, I saw my dad come barreling through the crowds with the rest of my siblings on his heels. His arms were opened wide and he pulled us into his embrace. We were found.

Our family spent a couple more hours at Disney World that day. Instead of moving through the crowds like a long snake, we looked more like an amoeba.

We learned a valuable lesson. This lesson is still true today.

If you don't want to get lost, keep your eyes on the Father.

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12:26

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3
Just so you know . . .
Booner's real name is Daniel. We used to call him Daniel Boone and somehow it ended up Booner.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Quagmire



1. an area of miry or boggy ground whose surface yields under the tread; a bog.
2. a situation from which extrication is very difficult

So, I was at Wal-Mart the other day, when I turned the corner and found two young men searching the carpet freshener section. They looked about college age. They looked confused.

I glanced down at my list to see if I needed to venture down the aisle and overheard tidbits of a conversation. These unfortunate guys couldn't decide what odor eliminator to choose.

I'm a helpful gal, so I went over to my favorite deodorizer, pulled it off the shelf and handed it to them. I told them it was my favorite and I promised them it didn't smell like Grandma's house.

They were skeptical. The first guy put it up to his nose and took a whiff and then handed it to his buddy. They agreed it didn't smell girly and said thanks. My pleasure. I turned to walk away when one of my husband's college stories flashed into my mind.

Jeff and his buddies lived on campus in an apartment. Those places always have something wrong with them. For Jeff, it was the toilet. One day, they came home to discover the pipe in the bathroom had a major leak. He describes four inches of water in the bathroom and water soaking into the carpet. If I was able to interview the students that lived below, they would describe their ceiling damage. College maintenance showed up, fixed the pipe, cleaned up most of the water and left.

The carpet remained damp and started to emit an odor. What do you do when you have an odor in your carpet? You buy carpet deodorizer, of course.

They went down to the store, bought some, and spread that fine smelling powder all over the carpet.

Do you know what happened?

Think chemistry.

Powder + Liquid = ?





Powder + Liquid = A Quagmire

By this time, the two guys were walking away, so I turned back and almost tackled them.


Don't put it on wet carpet!

It'll turn to paste!

Oh, they said. We should have thought of that.

Then, they proceeded to tell me about the dog vomit they were trying to clean up. So, of course, I told them to use carpet cleaner first, let it dry and then follow up with the carpet deodorizer.

They said thanks again and we both went on our way.

Why am I telling you this story about smelly carpets, odor eliminators and dog vomit?

It is to remind us that each day we make lots of decisions and sometimes we make them without thinking.

Any three-year-old can tell you that dirt plus water equals mud. Any college student should be able to tell you that powder plus water equals a quagmire in your carpet. But, only if you were to stop and think about it.

Now, most of us know the things that can get us in a quagmire, too. Hanging out with the wrong crowd. Lying. Cheating. Being alone with a boy. Drinking. Gossip. Immodest dress. The world is full of potentially bad choices to make.

Sometimes, we don't take the time to stop and think. We make decisions without thinking and we end up in a quagmire.

We need to be reminded to slow down and think about our actions, our words, and our decisions.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Save me!

Have you seen this video yet?

Here you have a pod of dolphins who somehow are misguided. I don't know why they decided the shore would be a better place to hang out. Surely God created them to swim in the vast ocean and not flop along the sand.

Maybe it looked like fun up there on the beach. Maybe the leader of the pod lost its way and the others just followed along.

Thankfully, there were people watching this pod of dolphins swimming toward disaster. They were quick to redirect. Though the people were obviously way out of their comfort zone, they entered the water and pulled the dolphins back to safety.

It took a few tries for some. The people had to yank the dolphins by the tail. It may have even hurt the animals a bit. Most resisted. Some swam right back towards shore just to be rescued again.

Finally, all the dolphins are pulled back into deeper, safe water and they seemed to realize that the ocean is where they truly belong.

As I sat watching this video, I was thinking about someone I know who has lost direction in her life. She is purposefully swimming toward disaster.

Do you know someone who has lost their way?

Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to that person?

You may have to ask them the hard questions.

It may sound like this: "Those shorts are awfully short, don't you think?" "Why are you hanging out with him?" "I've missed you at church. Can I pick you up this Sunday?" "Hey, I saw the picture you posted on Facebook. What's going on?"

You may have to drag them out of a situation that you know is dangerous for them.

It may look like this: "We didn't know her mom would have alcohol at this party. Let's get out of here." "I'm not going to leave you alone in the room with him." "I'll start driving when you put your seat belt on."

My prayer is that you would love your friend enough to do the tough thing. Even if she resists, keep speaking truth into her life.

Maybe you are the person who is swimming away from safety and resisting the help around you. Please go back to the where the water is deep. Make choices that will put a smile on God's face.

Remember that God loves you and want to provide the best in life for you and protect you from the worst.

True freedom is found in Christ where you can swim in safety.

ut whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and
continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:25