By Marsha Loftis
This Week’s Verse: Matthew 18:2-5, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me." (MSG)
When was the last time you came to God as a little child? To me, this verse not only pertains to coming to God with innocence and purity of heart, but also with fun and laughter. Remember when we were little and played games with parents or friends? We can take those lessons about how to "win" and strategize and apply them to our lives as adults.
Sometimes, I feel like I'm still playing the classics. Do you ever feel like you're playing “Battleship” with the devil? (Stay with me here.) Sometimes YOU get a hit! Sometimes he gets one. Sometimes he misses, and sometimes you are completely sunk!
If at times you feel like the devil is dragging you down and shooting fire bombs at you on a daily basis, then you are probably on the right course with God! Rejoice! That ole snake knows that you and God are getting closer and smoother waters are just ahead!
What about “Hide N Seek”? Everyone remembers that one! Well, it also has a place in our current life. If we are to “hide the Word away in our hearts” and “seek God first in all things,” but the people closest to us can't see Jesus, then maybe we should be doin' a little less “Hide N Seek” and a little more “Show N Tell”. Jesus shouldn't be that hard to locate. If we tell people more often about all the wonderful things Jesus does in our lives and show people Jesus' hands and His feet then everyone will see more clearly the Body of Christ.
Are ya still with me?
"Connect Four" is one of my favorites. My daughter and I still play that one today. It has special meaning to me in these times. Do you remember how to play? The goal is to fill the empty spaces. Not randomly, but in a special order. The goal is to line up four pieces in a row. If we use this principle as a rule for aligning The Father, Son, Spirit, and ourselves in special order then there will be no gaps. So many people in our lives are trying desperately to fill in the empty spaces with whatever is convenient. Our children, neighbors, co-workers, and even parents are so busy trying to fill their "empty spaces" in the bottom of a bottle, the backseat of a car, a designer label, or even an end zone.
If we can strive to Show and Tell everyone about Jesus, rise above the battle for our minds and hearts, and be an example of all four of our Special Pieces in alignment with God's Word, then there will be no empty spaces. I realize that the pieces may shift a little, but hopefully just enough for God's light to shine through.
I hope that no one thinks I'm being flip about this game of LIFE. I just want everyone to get a CLUE so that no one ends up SORRY!
Father, I pray that everyone we come in contact with sees Jesus in our lives. Even when we mess up the order and try to put our piece first I pray that as Christ followers we handle our mistakes in a Godly way. In our daily battle, I pray that we always remember to call upon you first to fill in the spaces.
Don't be so hard on yourself. If you feel like you need a time out, take a seat and just B.R.E.A.T.H.E...
B--Believe God has a plan for your life. “’For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”(Jer. 29:11, NIV)
R--Rest in the Lord. "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 8:28, NIV)
E--Encourage those around you. "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." (1 Thess. 5:11, NIV)A--Acknowledge that God is in control. "Do not be afraid or discouraged...For the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chron. 20:15, NIV)
T--Think good thoughts. "I'd say you'll do best by filling your mind and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst..." (Phil. 4:8, MSG)
H--Hand it over to God. "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you." (Ps. 55:22, NIV)
E--Enjoy this time in your life. "The thief comes only to destroy. I come that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." (John 10:10, AMP)