Saturday, March 21, 2020


We sat around the table, two elementary students and I, determined to play SkipBo together. Only I had played before, and it had been a while. When one of the students asked me about the functions of the SkipBo card, I picked up the instructions and read what it said. It didn't seem right to me, but I figured that in the past my family had played by house rules. We played for another ten or fifteen minutes when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the instructions again. They clearly said "Phase 10."

Somehow the wrong instructions had put in the box. Upon second review, I noticed that the instructions said Skip, not SkipBo.

That's the thing about instructions: they must be applied appropriately.

Much of the New Testament is instruction. Early believers had questions. Should we do this? How should we handle that? What's the godly response to this situation? How should I respond to that person? So they wrote letters to leaders, and leaders responded with instruction. Does that surprise you? It's right there, in many passages, like this one:
"As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2, NIV).
My Paraphrase: We told you what God wants from you. You are doing it now, so keep on doing it.

Life is complicated, but sometimes we make it harder. We seek counsel from sources that are not applicable to our situation. As believers, our situation is one of faith in God.

Society tells us to hoard toilet paper (I can't wait until that is over), but Jesus tells us:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV).
Society tells us to take this time to enjoy unlimited hours of television and social media, but Jesus tells us:
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:22-23, NIV)
Society tells us there are lots of things to be worried about, but Jesus tells us:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:25-27)
Society tells us we better be prepared, but Jesus tells us:
"For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:32-34).

I do not write these words callously. These are hard times for many, and it looks like there will be hard times for a while more. However, I choose to put my hope in God. He will provide. He will be with me. He will comfort me.

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