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Posts Tagged ‘computer games’

I watched as our eight-year-old granddaughter pulled several crumpled sheets of paper from her school uniform pocket. When she smoothed them out, I saw they contained long spelling lists, starting at an easy level, but soon becoming quite difficult.

‘My friend and I were finalists in our class spelling bee and now we have to learn these words and compete against the finalists from other classes,’ she told me, obviously pleased with herself.

‘Well, how about I get you to spell some for me?’ I suggested. ‘Let’s try this middle level. What about ‘abandon’? Do you know what that means?’

Maxine not only spelt it correctly but proceeded to act out what the word meant with gusto, showing how a classmate would feel if left all by themselves. We then tried ‘dungeon’ and ‘nocturnal’, again spelt correctly, along with a graphic explanation of their meaning. A couple of harder words followed where she needed some help. I could see she was becoming a little discouraged, but then she had an idea.

‘Ask me the word “encouraged”,’ she told me. ‘I know that one!’

And she did. This time, however, we did not talk about the meaning as I was well aware she knew it. Not long before, she and her brother had wanted me to play a certain game on my phone, but I had declined.

‘Oh, I’d be no good at that!’ I had said emphatically.

But Maxine was having none of it. ‘Nanna, you have written lots of books, so you could do this,’ she informed me. ‘You’re not silly!’’

Yep, Maxine sure knows how to encourage someone.

In the end, I tried to play their game but failed abysmally, despite their expert help. Thinking back later, however, I realised I had learnt some important lessons about encouragement in the process. Firstly, I saw I needed to take smaller steps forward in choosing words for Maxine to spell rather than jump to harder ones that discouraged her. And secondly, as Maxine tried to encourage me, I saw the value of being reminded of those times when I had succeeded in doing something relatively difficult, albeit in an entirely different field from our grandchildren’s challenge to me! I am glad of both these reminders, because they are so relevant for encouraging those facing much bigger challenges than spelling bees and computer games.

I love encouraging others, seeing that smile on their faces and that flame of hope being lit inside them again. Yet this can also require much wisdom, patience and perseverance at times, can’t it? And sometimes, we may find ourselves so unsure, as we grope for the right words to say. I never want to offend or be too forceful, nor do I want merely to bolster someone’s ego or give them false hope for the future. So I am doubly glad God is always with us, empowering us and giving us insight, as we seek to spur others on to be all God purposes them to be and do the things they have been created to do. God will give us the right words, as we seek to encourage, so let’s go for it!

… Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 NLT

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Jo 23One recent Saturday night, I set out to drive our daughter to her home in an entirely different part of Sydney. As usual, I headed for James Ruse Drive, then onto the M4 freeway. As usual too, my daughter and I were talking about all sorts of things, while I endeavoured to keep my eyes on the traffic around me. We were almost at the end of the freeway when, to my horror, I suddenly realised the road we were on looked very different from usual. Somehow I had ended up in the newly completed tunnel that speedily propels drivers towards the city rather than on Parramatta Road near my usual turnoff!

What could we do? Absolutely nothing—except keep driving until we could actually exit onto Parramatta Road, albeit at a spot way past where I wanted to be. But then I had another dilemma. Should I now try to drive our daughter home a different way through unfamiliar suburbs late on a dark night? Or should I backtrack along Parramatta Road and stick to my well-known route?

In the end, I chose the latter. But it was indeed a loooong journey that night.

When I arrived home, my helpful husband asserted that, although he had never been in the new tunnel, there must be signs everywhere that could not be missed. So we decided to take a drive in the daytime to ensure we knew which lane one needed to stick to in order to exit before that shiny, new tunnel swallowed us up again.

Perhaps you can guess what happened. There was my husband, driving along looking at all the road signs, when … poof … suddenly he too found himself careering into the tunnel rather than straight onto Parramatta Road! At least he enjoyed checking it all out. But again, how easy it had been, despite all those signs, to glide along with the other traffic on that wide freeway towards the tunnel!

Later, I thought about what these two interesting experiences where we so easily took the wrong road might teach me for my life in general. It can be so easy to go along with what others say or how others live who do not know or care about God, can’t it? It can be so easy to be seduced by all those ads urging us to do or buy this and that rather than think about what God might want. It can be so easy to drift into watching shows or playing computer games or reading books that do not honour God. But, as Jesus himself taught, this wide, easy road that many others might choose to take does not lead to real life.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

I’m so thankful I veered off onto God’s narrow road many years ago now, rather than powering on along that obvious, wide, easy freeway, heedless to God’s voice. My road might twist and turn, but I know where I’m heading. And I have the perfect Navigator beside me forever who will never lead me astray.

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