Thursday, July 21, 2016

Reasons to smile - catch great memories

There is a particular game that is consuming the attention of children, youth, and adults. It has a very simple concept. Using a smart phone or tablet, individuals must seek-out and catch imaginary monsters in actual locations. Sounds kinda cool in theory. Well, the monster hunters are looking everywhere and without any discretion. They are so determined to get these monsters that they  go to extreme lengths to obtain what they want.

An on-line journal posted that the monster hunters are hunting so aggressively that they are even looking in a Holocaust museum. How are these gamers so intent on finding fun that they are willing to search in a place that holds memories of one of the most tragic eras in world history? 

As of July 2016, there is a petition to remove the little monsters from the museum on Care 2 Petition with nearly 17,000 signatures!

It is greatly apparent that our nation and this world are experiencing some very rough days. The senseless killings, terrorist attacks, and political upheavals are enough to make a person want to hide behind closed doors.

Yet, Numbers 14:6-9 helped me to get grasp on catching joy in a place filled with monsters. 

But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’[a] Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”

God told Moses in the previous chapter that He was giving the children of Israel the land at Canaan. All they needed to do was explore and take ownership.

The story goes on to say that 12 spies explored the land. When they returned with a report, they marveled at the land's beauty. However, ten of the twelve confessed that the land had giants greater they could handle. Only two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, had the intestinal fortitude to believe they were greater than those giants. Subsequently, the children of Israel wondered for 40 years for not acting on what God told them to do. 

How does this fit in today?

Like I said earlier, it is obvious that the giants called fear, intimidation, hate, anger and more are in our land. Yet and still, our land is still good and we have the ability to enjoy the prosperity of this land if we go and obtain it. 

What would happen if we aggressively searched for JOY, PEACE, LOVE, UNITY, and BROTHERHOOD in our land like people are desperately searching for Pokemon and holding on to those things?

A cool feature about the game is that when you catch a little monster it saves to your profile. Then, when you need the motivation to keep hunting or a reminder of how far you have come, all you have to do is look back and enjoy your good "Catches" or memories. 

Here are some scriptures to help you search:

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)

To emphasize this message during our youth service, I blindfolded two participants and placed a bowl in front of each. Inside of the bowls were cooked spaghetti and elbow macaroni as well as gummy snacks. The kids were given one minute to search through the gross stuff to find the good stuff. The catch was that they could only use one hand. Point: There is good in gross or bad days/moments. Even if you can't physically see it you should strive to find it. 

PS: If you are READING this - You have SURVIVED 100% of your WORST DAYS!