Friday, October 14, 2011

What card are you playing?

Which card are you tossing out there today? The blame card? How about the pity card? The I just can't do it card? We all have them. We grab for them each morning. We might be crabby before our feet hit the floor. Maybe sadness effects us more than our anger. Get in that car and take off down the road and it's not long before the road rage is spilling over. Could it be we just don't want to face the day at all? We take our anger out on those around us and say, "Oh, sorry, just in a bad mood today. You know how it is. Life just gets to you."

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

We have our aches and pains. Believe me. I feel about 89 today. Money seems to be an issue with every family. We tire of the daily grind that seems to play out in our head before the alarm clock goes off. We must face that girl at work that gives us such a hard time. That friend that you love so much is now slipping and your in fear of what to do. Your kids are at school and each day something new happens that adds to your worry list. The kids have homework until midnight, the chores are still calling your name and the dog has to go out. Your feet are killing you. Your heart is aching because you miss your husband that walked out the door. The doctor called and the results of your tests are in. We face life issues every day. So, what are we going to do about them?

"fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

We can turn on the television and see the happenings of the world. It doesn't look too good, does it? The news stations share with us what they want us to know and it seems that the race issue is one the media keeps playing to disturb us and bring anger among the people of this nation. Even though the world is a mess, why do we worry? We either have a God in control or not. I choose to believe He is. Even when I cannot understand everything. I choose Him.

"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Wherever we look we see the evils of this world taking over. Mothers and Mother in Laws do not speak. Daughters face off with their mothers and sons bring their fathers to shame. Drinking has become the answer for some. Drugs for others. We just seem to want to find a way out instead of facing the issues of today. We claim this generation wants everything easy, but what about us? Can we really look to the youth of this nation and stand as examples?

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Where is our positive outlook? Where is that faith we claim to stand in? If you listen in to a conversation all you hear is how bad things are. Well, things are bad, but haven't they always been since the beginning of time outside of the garden? Sin is prevalent in our world and in our lives. Sin doesn't just invade the lives of others. It is right in your heart and mine. We tend to overlook our own sins, but point out sins of those around us. Whatever yesterday brought, today is a new day.

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

We not only live in a me society, but a society that passes the buck. We have a president showing how easy it is done. We want to play the blame card. Really? Is it that hard to see our own mistakes? Life is unfair. It is never perfect, but why give up so easily? People hide their pain. Fear is in their eyes and anger in their hearts. It would be so easy to pull the cover up over your head and wait for a good day.

"It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

We turn from people in our life so easy today. Why not take the time to work things out? Isn't love worth it? Is it really that much easier to carry anger in our heart? We are an angry people, aren't we? We want everything to be our way. When it isn't we claim how unfair life is. Haven't we played that card long enough? We can feel so alone. No one understands and it seems no one really cares.

"The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:9

We can throw that pity card out on the table. The only thing is, no one wants to play that game. It's more like playing a game of Solitaire alone. Why me? Well, why not ask, "Why not me?" Is it so much better when it happens to another? Good. As long as it doesn't happen to me I'm fine.

"Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

Instead of bailing out and throwing your cards down, why not stay in for another hand? Shuffle the deck and see what you get. God just might have a surprise for you if you give Him enough time with your hand. He knows the deck. It is only stacked against us when we give up. When we allow Satan to have room in our lives and look at everything as though the cup is only half full. It's all about our attitude.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29

The Lord knows what cards are in your hand today. Satan is pretty good at knowing our tells, too. He knows when we are bluffing and when we are standing firm. There is no reason to fold. It's not the cards we are dealt, it's what we do with them that counts. If you get a hand today that you just don't know what to do with, sit on it for a minute. There is no hurry in deciding. Make a decision based on what the Lord is giving you and showing you.

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-8

When our kids were small they loved playing games. Our oldest son hated losing. He would throw the cards and lose his temper. As long as he was winning, he was having a great time. We tend to play that happiness card, don't we? If God loves us, well we are going to be happy. We are going to be dealt a great hand and win out every time. We can play the game with grace and honor.

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

Happiness isn't what life is about. Happiness is a feeling. One that changes with each circumstance. Put a Starbucks coffee in my hand right now and I am going to be one happy girl. Put trash in my new purse, I might get a little mad. Joy is real. Joy is lasting. No matter what we face we can still have joy in our heart. Why? It is placed there by the Lord. He knows this world gets to us. Something would be wrong with us if it didn't. We aren't part of this world. This is not our home. We are to look to Him for our wisdom in how to play the cards in our hand.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you." Psalm 32:8

We want that ace in the hole card for everything in life. We have something so much better. Why not play the King card? My husband and have played Rummy for years. When we first began playing I would win every single game. It took him a while to figure out my hand, but once he did, he caught on fast. I would hold on to my big cards. You know, those cards that would beat out every other card. Sure I always had a few aces in my hand, but I would toss them before I would my King.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

When faced with a tough hand you just gotta hold on strong and have faith. Not in the cards or in the one holding them, but in the One who gives them out. There is a reason for each hand. Sometimes it teaches us and makes us better for the next. Sometimes it is there to show us we are playing the game wrong and need to take a few more lessons on graceful playing. Sometimes He is just reminding us to enjoy the game and not take life so seriously. See, whatever the card, whatever the hand, we must remember God doesn't just shuffle our cards at random.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

See, this world is watching at how we play and how well we play with others. The eye of the world in upon us. We can show that with each card we are dealt we will play with faith. We need to show that love is greater than any worldly item we might win out in a card game. After all, it isn't what's in our hand, but what is in our heart.


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