Life Lessons from Candy Crush Saga

I’m a fan of Candy Crush Saga. In the past few days, I’ve been slightly addicted to . . . er, I mean really dedicated to this game. My pattern is that I’ll be stuck on a level for quite a while then suddenly I’ll breeze through several in one sitting. 

I’ve learned something about the game. You have to be intentional with just about every move you make to be successful.

Life is like that. You may wish for more hours in a day (just like I might wish for a few more moves in the game before I run out), but really the question is how intentional are you about using the time you’re given? Are you task-focused or people-focused. At the end of the day, you have to decide what really is important and what’s not.

I’ve said it before but the harsh truth is this: you will find time for the things and the people that matter to you. If you find yourself making excuses over why you can’t find time for someone, maybe it’s because they aren’t really that important to you. You may call yourself their friend, but the truth is you’re just an acquaintance.

You can’t do everything and you can’t be friends with everyone. You have to decide who and what you’re going to invest in and make those things and people your priority. You choose people whose qualities you most want in your life, who are headed in a direction you want to go, and who will ultimately help you become your truest self, i.e. more like Jesus.

If your so-called friends can’t ever make time for you, let them go. Pray for them and wish them well, but don’t keep trying to reserve a place in your life for someone who doesn’t want to be there. You will find plenty of people who want you around and who want to spend time with you and will live it out. Remember the best way to spell love is T-I-M-E. No other way shows your love for people than spending time with them.

After all that, do give people plenty of grace. I gave someone chance after chance to be my friend, but they ignored every request I made to spend time with them and hang out with them. They only responded to me after I suggest that it be best for us both to move on.

As for that infernal game, one day I will defeat level 23. I’ve come tantalizingly close, but then managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s my talent. Did I mention how much of a gamer I’m not?

Anyway, as always, take what’s useful to you from this and leave the rest. Hopefully, God will speak some truth into your life from these ramblings. Thanks again for investing in my life by taking the time to read these posts.


A Real Man

I want to put in a disclaimer at the start of this blog: this is by no means an exhaustive treatment of the subject of manhood. Exhausting, maybe. But not exhaustive.

You don’t really get a true idea of biblical manhood from most of the voices clamoring for your attention these days. Manhood means virility. It means physical strength. It means having the right car and wearing the right suit and living in the right house and making ungodly amounts of money. According to some.

Sometimes, you get manhood spoken of derisively to refer to caveman-type behavior and values and it’s expected that any man will be rude and gross and inconsiderate.

I don’t think so. Here’s what true masculinity is, according to me.

It means holding on to what you believe, no matter what. It means having principles and values and sticking to them, regardless of who else shares them or stands with you. Even if you stand alone, you still don’t compromise your beliefs.

It means that who you are in public is the same as who you are in the dark when no one else is watching. It means you are the same person around friends and around strangers.

In terms of faith, a Christian man is one who seeks single-minded obedience to Jesus, no matter what it costs him in terms of popularity, money, fame, friends, health, and even his own life. Obedience as I heard it described very recently is doing what you know to do because it is the right thing to do and doing it as consistently as possible.

I’d also add that being a true godly man means knowing when to ask for help from others and from God. It’s the bravery to admit weaknesses and faults, the strength to shed tears, the ability to care for the helpless, and the wisdom to know when you should stand and fight and when you should back away. And by fighting, I mean speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves and standing up for those who no one else wants to help.

A true man is passionately and unashamedly in love with Jesus Christ and doesn’t care who knows it. A true man will be the one who, after he’s gone, people will remember not him but the Spirit of Jesus in him.

There are probably a lot more good characteristics of a godly man that I left out or simply forgot. But these are just a few of the ones that I think make a real man. In this man’s humble opinion.

Blessed are the merciful

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7)

In the Bible, grace and mercy are many times used together. I’ve heard it put this way that grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what you do deserve. Mercy is withholding the right to revenge and giving grace instead. One of God’s characteristics is that He is merciful. If anyone had the right to exact judgment on what we’ve done wrong and how we’ve screwed up and when we’ve outright rebelled against Him, it’s God. But He in HIs grace gives us what we don’t deserve– forgiveness– and in His mercy withholds from us what we do deserve– everlasting punishment in hell.

To be merciful is to be like God. To forgive, even when forgiveness is not sought, is to be like God. Mercy is loving the unloveable. It’s easy to love someone who loves you back, but God calls us to love those who are so caught up in and trapped by fear and addictions that they are unable to love us back.

I like the Message version. It says, “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.”

If you show mercy, you get mercy. I also like to think that one of the characteristics of those who have experienced God’s grace and mercy is that they live out that grace and mercy toward others. You forgive much because you have been forgiven much. You don’t worry about the $100 worth of wrong someone did to you when God just forgave the $1 million worth of wrong you did against Him.

Brennan Manning says it best: “Our encounter with Mercy profoundly affects our interaction with others . . . . We look beyond appearances, beneath surfaces, to recognize others as companions in woundedness. Human flesh is heir to the assaults, within and without, of negative, judgmental thoughts, but we will not consent to them because God is merciful to us. We will not allow these attacks to lead us into the sins of self-preoccupation and self-defense. Swimming in the merciful love of Christ, we are free to laugh at the tendency to assume spiritual superiority– in ourselves. We are free to extend to others the mercy we have received.”

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.