"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
July 17, 2013
I recently read a quote that said, "Man blames most accidents on fate -- but feels personally responsible when he scores a hole in one."
There are a couple of online games that I enjoy playing. One of the games I play alone, and the other is one that Jon and I play against each other. In both games, it takes a certain amount of skill to play. But winning also has a lot to do with the hand you are dealt, so to speak.
In the game that I play alone, there have been times when I have played the same level over and over again for days at a time, with no winning result. I have become frustrated because it seems as if it doesn't really matter if I play slow and think about each move, or move quickly and randomly, I am stuck and have difficulty winning that level so I can move on. I have asked Jon a few times to play and see if he can win those games for me, (after all, he's played all types of online, video, arcade, and card games for most of his life and should be a pro!), and he has won a couple of times, but he has a hard time, also. I've discerned that more times than not it seems as if winning the game has very little to do with skill, and more to do with finally getting a lucky game where everything falls into place. And yes, I know that some Christians have a problem with the word "lucky", but I can't think of a better word to fit!
When I've been stuck on a particularly difficult level for several days, I will make a move that will be the one that sets everything in motion to fall into place. I sit there and watch as balls drop and nifty things happen that wins me that game. I'm not making moves or strategizing or doing anything spectacular when this happens.
The game that Jon and I play together takes more thinking and strategizing. We each choose train tickets to specific destinations and have to try and build our track first, using the needed color of cars, without the other person blocking us or using up their cars before we finish. Sometimes the train tickets we choose are destinations that link together and building the train is somewhat easy. Other times the tickets are in completely different areas of the map, which makes it really difficult. Sometimes when we draw, we get the needed color of train cars we need; other times we get every other color than what is needed. Again, the game does use some skill, but also has a whole lot to do with whether or not we have good tickets to choose from and then get the right color of train cars.
Often, when we win at something in particular, whether or not it really has much to do with our own ability and skill, we like to brag about it and act as if we did it all on our own. But if we lose, then we can come up with a lot of excuses why we didn't win; and rarely will we admit that it was our own fault. We will blame the game, blame someone else, blame the circumstances, say we were distracted, or whatever it may be. It's so easy for us to take pride in ourselves when we do something good, but difficult to take the blame when we do something bad or mess up.
When my nephew was a little boy, he had a bit of a temper. Whenever something happened, it was never his fault (at least in his own mind) but he always found something or someone to blame. I remember one particular time when he was riding his tricycle and it tipped over and he fell off. He got up, kicked the tricycle, and said, "Stupid bike!!"
We tend to keep that same mentality throughout our life. As the quote at the beginning of this devotional said, we will blame most accidents on fate, but are quick to take credit when we do something that had more to do with fate than our own skill.
My sisters and I were talking a while back and my oldest sister said she remembers Daddy telling her husband many years ago that things happen for a reason. We may not always know why, but God is looking out for us and protecting us.
A few weeks ago my sister was supposed to meet a couple of ladies in downtown Tulsa for a historical walking tour. First of all, she realized that morning that she had given one of the ladies the wrong time and they needed to be there earlier than originally planned. When she left to meet them, her car died and she had to coast into the middle lane. It is a hybrid and it showed that she had one bar left on gas and that her battery was fully charged when she left her house. But when her car died, it showed that her battery was dead. She managed to roll the car into a gas station and filled it up. But the delay was enough where she wasn't going to make the tour on time. As soon as she filled up, her battery showed fully charged and the car has been perfect ever since. Earlier that same week she had taken her car to be checked over because she will be driving it on a long trip in August, and they had said that everything looked great.
One of the other women had bought a brand new car about a month before this, and she got a nail in her tire and had a flat that she had to take to get repaired.
The third lady had gotten a call from her bank that morning saying that there was a problem on her account and she needed to come in. When she got there, they told her there was no problem and everything was fine.
Coincidence that something happened to delay all three women? No! For some reason they were not supposed to meet and go on the walking tour that particular morning, and God caused things to happen to prevent them from going. They never heard anything bad that happened downtown that morning, but God knew what would have happened had they gone, so He protected them by sending diversions to divert them from getting to their destination on time, so that they had to call and cancel.
We usually get irritated if we have something planned and something interferes with our plans. It's usually only later that we will calm down and think about the fact that God was watching over us and protecting us from something. More times than not, we may never know what He was protecting us from, but God saw and knew and kept His hand upon us by causing diversions to occur to keep us safe.
It's easy sometimes to look at certain situations and take credit for our own safety or our own success or our own need being met. When retelling the story, it is often filled with, "I did this...," "If I hadn't been in the right place at the right time....," "I just happened to be.....," We forget to give any credit to God for His protection and intervention.
On the other hand when something bad happens and we are in an accident, or we fall and break a bone, or a limb falls through our roof during a storm and makes a big hole..... we aren't so quick to blame ourself but will blame fate... or we will blame God and be upset with Him.
Fate means "the development of events beyond a person's control".
I like Psalms 23 because it speaks of the Lord being with us in both good and bad times. "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness."
But it also speaks about walking through the valley of the shadow of death; and preparing a table in the presence of our enemies.
All of us will walk through those dark valleys. We will have times when we feel like we have enemies; those who will say hurtful things or betray our friendship or tell lies about us or let us down when we need them.
But we will also have those times of blessing when we walk through the green pastures and enjoy the bounty of God's provision and protection.
Through it all, we can have the assurance that the Lord is our Shepherd. His rod and staff will comfort us and our cup will run over. Goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life; and we can dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
There are some times in my life when I'm certain God was protecting me. A few of those times, I knew what the danger was. But I wonder just how many times God protected me from things I never knew of.
I know He is looking out for me. And I hope I never forget to keep thanking Him. I'd rather thank Him now for the things I don't know about than to narrowly escape danger or injury, then remember to thank Him.
1 head lettuce
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 small pkg. frozen peas
1 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled
Layer ingredients in order listed in a large bowl. Mix 2 cups mayonnaise, 1 cup sour cream, and 1 package of dry Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix together. Spread over the top of the salad. Do not toss the salad! Cover and refrigerate overnight or all day.
My nieces two kids were playing house together. She overheard them calling each other "parent" and "person"! She decided perhaps she should work with them on being a tad more creative in choosing names when playing.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
- Abraham Lincoln
We love you!
Loretta & Jon