Learning to Play Elder Scrolls at 69.

It’s 10:00 pm and after months of binge watching, Father Brown, Midsomer Murders, Call the Midwife, and Sherlock, I’ve had to find a new series for my mother to watch. She has short-term memory problems so I had the Father Brown series on about 10 times until it moved into her long-term memory. She finally said the words, “I remember this one.” I should probably tell a researcher on the elderly about that.

While she watches I, clean, cook, paint, do some woodwork, listen to podcasts, and play Elder Scrolls. I’m 69 years old and I just learned the joy of this kind of game. I don’t even know the right name for this kind of game. Multi-player is part of it. Maybe role-playing.

My sister from Washington State introduced me to games. She wanted to do something with me since we live far apart. We started with Portal Knights, moved on to Minecraft and then landed on Elder Scrolls Online.

We played the first two games for awhile, but my sister’s wi-fi at her trailer park is quite weak. She got a booster, but still got thrown out of the game time after time, or she would appear with a head and no body, so we had to stop playing those. She said she tried for hours to find us another game but couldn’t find one the two of us could play together. She prayed and God told her, “Elder Scrolls.” She said, “Really!? Okay.” So that’s how we began. ( She’s not crazy; we both think God talks to us.)

It quickly became clear I was very bad at this game. Elder Scrolls loves to keep players in the dark about their rules and how to play the game. Or, if you look at it another way, they have so many pages of tiny writing your eyes start aching and your brain hurting. I can’t read much on the computer anyway, and I’m glad the game doesn’t seem to bother my eyes after we eliminated the blue light. My sister tried to help me, but it was painful for both of us. Her wi-fi also hated Elder Scrolls, so we gave up.
We gave up trying to play together, but I was determined to keep playing myself. There was this one thing I loved about the game: travel and scenery.

I’ve always loved to travel and in Elder Scrolls there are all these islands you can go to. The scenery and architecture of the buildings is different in each place. My favorite part of the game is walking through the woods finding stuff I need in order to make things like weapons, clothing and food. It is lovely and soothing until a white tiger sneaks up from behind, swipes your back and calls all his friends to finish you off.

I’m a wood elf. My sister said that is the best person to be because she likes to stand back and shoot people. But that wasn’t the weapon they gave me at the beginning. They gave her a bow and arrow but gave me a staff that shoots out fire! Oh yeah, I fell in love with it. It worked very well in a fight. Then I saw a different player with a fire staff who banged hers on the ground and the ground became electric, zapping people. Wow! How could I get that!? I got it now, baby.

Honestly, I never thought I would like a game like this, but I think I know why I do. After you finish a quest, after you save some lives, after you kill the bad guys, you feel great. You feel like you have really accomplished something good. After I saved the Queen’s life, people in the different cities said, “Are you the one who saved the Queen?” “Why yes I am.”

You know, I’m glad I can take care of my 92-year-old mom. But do I feel excited, elated and proud of myself like I do in Elder Scrolls? No! That thought does give me pause. I’m not sure what to make of it. What I do know is that I have something exciting to do again and that makes me happy.

So, my mom and I are growing old together, happy as if in our right mind. And one thing is really handy about this time of our lives. In the last five years I’ve become agoraphobic and rarely leave the apartment. My mom is weak and tired and doesn’t want to go anywhere. I mean, how great is that? God works in mysterious ways. But I guess it wasn’t a mystery to him that I would love Elder Scrolls.

Hope in Sorrow.

In writing out Psalm 42, I recognized myself. I used to get depressed and full of sorrow, then I would reach out to God and had hope again. I thought the sadness was over, but then my heart would grow heavy again. I learned I had to fight sadness and discontent with prayer and speaking God’s words out loud.

I think the first negative thought we have is a temptation to go down the path to depression. If we stop and dwell on the negative thought, more will come until our minds are full of sadness. We need to stop at the first thought and give it to God. Then start thanking God for all the good things in our lives. We can go through each day in sorrow or peaceful joy. It is up to us.

Psalm 42.

Like a deer pants for water, my soul pants for you, O my God. I thirst for the living God. I long to meet him face to face.

Yet I have been crying day and night, and people ask me, “Where is your God.”

As I pour out my soul to God, then I remember how I used to go to church with shouts of joy among other believers.

Why is my soul in sorrow? Why do I feel so disturbed? I must put my hope in God; if I can do that, I will then praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is in sorrow; therefore, I will think on you. My life is filled with turmoil, like waves of the sea going over my head.

Yet, in the daytime, the Lord sends his love to me. In the evening, he puts a song in my heart and a prayer to the God of my life.

Yet later I say, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go around in sadness because my enemies oppress me? They ask me, “Where is your God?”

I ask myself again, “Why is my soul filled with sorrow? Why do I feel torn in my heart?

I must put my hope in God. If I do that, I will again praise him, my Savior and my God.

What About the Wicked?

Slave traders.

The following is Psalm 37 in my own words. This Psalm compares the wicked with the followers of God. I rarely ever write about the evil people of the world, but after copying out this Psalm, I felt I should share it. There is so much written about what the wicked do that is wrong, all through the Bible. It is to warn us not to be like them.

Notice the Psalm says nothing about burning in hell forever. No, it says the wicked will become like smoke. They will vanish and you won’t see them. Some people want to believe all will be saved. I understand that because I feel sorry for those who will be lost. But sometimes, when I read the news about sex traffickers, or watch a movie and there is a really awful, bad person in it, I want them to be dead. I want them to be dead because all they do is hurt people. Have you ever known someone like that? I have known a few, and when they died, I thought, “Well, they can’t hurt anyone any longer.”

Notice also the verse that says God will give you the desires of your heart. I believe this is true, if our desires are good. I asked myself what my greatest desire is and it is to see my children believe in God and be saved. I can see that now and am content. I thought back on what my greatest desire was as a child. It was to have children. Yes, God has given me my greatest desires.

Here is the Psalm:

“Do not worry and fret about evil people in this world. Do not be envious of those who do wrong and profit from their deeds. Like the grass and plants, they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good. Live your life, and take pleasure in knowing the Lord; he will give you the desires of your heart. Give your life to the Lord and trust him. Your reward from him will shine like the rising sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret about the wicked who succeed in their plans and carry out their evil schemes.

Bridle your anger; do not fret, for it only leads to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit heaven.

In a little while, evil men will be no more; you may look for them, but they will  not be found. But the meek will inherit heaven and enjoy peace.

The wicked plot against good men. But the Lord knows their day is coming. They kill the poor and needy, but in the end, they will die by their own weapons.

It is better to have little in this world than have the wealth earned by wickedness. For the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord holds up the righteous.

The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care; their inheritance will last forever. In times of disaster and famine, they will prosper.

But the wicked will perish; they borrow but do not repay; they will be consumed and will go up like smoke.

The great I Am, makes his children’s steps firm. They may stumble, but will not fall, for the Lord holds their hands in his.

I have been young and now I am old, but I have never seen God’s people forsaken by him. They are generous and freely give what they have; their children will also be a blessing to the world.

Oh, turn from evil and do good! Then you will live forever. For our good Father, I Am, loves those who are just and will never leave them.”

Thank You God for My Suffering.

Joyce Meyer

I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning, and she spoke about going through trials, pain and suffering and how these things equip us for the future. They equip us with experience that we can then use to help other people. She said we usually don’t realize this until we are older and can look back on our lives.

Joyce used the example of Joseph’s life, which if you read it in Genesis Chapters 37-50, will explain why “But Joseph replied, “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people.”

Just the other day, my sister said to me, “When you used to come to Nevada to visit me, it surprised me how my bad temper didn’t upset you. When I raged about something, most people didn’t like it and would get upset, but you would just sit there working on your crossword puzzle.”

I said to her, “I realized a few years ago, that the years of having my husband lose his temper had taught me not to take anger personally. I read a book that explained bad-tempered people are not actually mad at you; they are angry about something else, usually their childhood.”

Living with my husband and praying about my own temper, has been good for me. I didn’t think so at the time, in fact, I hated it, but God used that so I could learn to let people go and not be upset about what they say and do. I haven’t learned this perfectly, but most of the time when someone is mad at me or at something else, I feel at peace about it.

My husband rarely loses his temper now. We have both learned how useless it is to be angry at people. When he does slip and flip-out, we pause and then start laughing. This is what can happen when you follow Jesus through your life. We are both in our late sixties and both of us have learned through suffering and praying. It is God alone who changes us as we ask him.

My sister and I are very close, even though we live miles apart. Through email, Messenger and phone calls, we share our happiness, sorrows and how God is working in our lives. She has helped me so much in so many ways. She says I have helped her. This deep, Christian friendship is what I have needed. I can tell her anything and know I will be understood; she can do the same with me. I pray all you who read this will have a friend like that.

The other thing I have learned through suffering is compassion. I believe if a person goes through life with everything going their way, they will probably be proud and selfish. How can we understand the suffering of others if we never go through it ourselves?

I read a millionaire say, “Anyone can do what I have done and be rich.” I suppose he says that because he has never had a family member who is not as smart as him. He doesn’t realize that intelligence makes a huge difference in how successful we will be in this world. His parents probably sent him to a wonderful university where he learned what he needed to learn.

There are those who suffer mental illness. People like me, who have no confidence and are terrified to work with other people. People like me who freeze and are speechless and so afraid to make a mistake on a job they can’t function. People like me, who were horribly abused as a child.

I can now say to God, “Thank you for all my suffering.” I never thought I would ever, ever say that, but I can see the beauty that can come from it. I would rather be who I am, with all my weakness, than proud in my own strength. I can say with David, “The Lord is my strength,” because I know how true that is.

Don't be Like A Mule.

“Photo: Guilhem Vellut / CC-BY”
Wall of Forgiveness. Aftermath of the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots.

Psalm 32 (In my own words.)

How blessed we are to know God has forgiven, and will always forgive, our sins and mistakes! They are covered by the blood of Jesus. He puts truth in our minds.

When I didn’t confess my sin, your hand was heavy upon my mind. I felt weak and sorrowful. But when I told you my sin, you forgave me and my guilty feelings were gone!

Because of this, may all pray to you while there is still time. You will become their hiding place. You will protect them and surround them with songs of freedom!

The Lord God says, “I will teach you the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eyes on you. Don’t be like a mule or a horse, which have no understanding. They must be controlled by bit and bridle, or they will not come to you.

The evil man has a lot of trouble in his life. But God’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. So, rejoice in the Lord and be glad you children of the Great I Am. Sing, all you who have God in their hearts!

We Must Drink Our Cup.

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“The LORD is my inheritance and my cup; you support my lot.”   Psalm 16:5

When I read this, I wondered what inheritance and cup might mean in a spiritual sense. After looking up some Bible commentaries on Bible Hub, I could see how significant and wonderful these words are.

An inheritance is of course, what you receive from your father or mother when they die. The Bible tells us God himself is our inheritance. Through the death of Jesus, we can become one with the trinity. As Jesus said, “I in you and you in me.”    

“The LORD is my portion (inheritance),” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”   Lamentations 3:24

As for the cup, it is an important image strewn throughout the Bible. Jesus used it when talking about his coming death.

Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”   John 18:11

This expresses both the feelings which struggled in the Lord’s breast during the Agony in the garden—aversion to the cup viewed in itself, but, in the light of the Father’s will, perfect preparedness to drink it.   Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

A cup is also a symbol of the lives of the wicked.

For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.   Psalm 75:8

The reader will observe, that this expression, the portion of their cup, is a proverbial phrase in Scripture: God’s gifts and dispensations, whether pleasing or painful, consolatory or afflictive, especially the latter, being ordinarily expressed by a cup, poured out and given men to drink.   Benson Commentary

Jesus used the cup to represent the lives of the cruel priests of his time.

“Now then,” said the Lord, “you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.   Matthew 23:26

The cup is, “…a synonym for “condition in life.”   Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

“The condition in life.” In other words, what happens when we are alive on earth; what illnesses we will contract, what family we are born in, how we look, our genetics, our strengths and weaknesses. Our “lot in life” so to speak.

How many of us hate our “cup?” How many hate what happened to us in our childhood when we were weak and vulnerable? How many hate their jobs, their spouses or their struggles? How many resent the “cup?”

I started hating my life when I was in my mid-forties. I felt cursed, foolish, a joke, embarrassed by my mental illness and unloved by everyone. I was angry at God for my life; angry he let terrible things happen to me and others; angry at what I saw as his injustice. I was terrified what the future held for me.

I have written before how God, “drew me out of the mire and muck;” how he has filled my life with happiness, so I won’t repeat that here. What I want to tell you is how fast I can descend back into my old way of thinking and not trusting God about my “cup.”

I got up one morning this week, and as I stood in front of the microwave to heat my coffee, I couldn’t remember how to work it. I stared at the buttons and drew a blank. It finally came back to me and I heated the coffee, but now I was frightened. I’m 69, so I know it is possible for me to have dementia or alzhiemer’s disease.

To me, I would rather die than have those two things happen to me. My sister and I have talked about this subject and we agreed how horrible it would be and how we don’t want people taking care of us, even family members. My sister said she would kill herself. Stupidly, I said the same thing, knowing God wouldn’t like it.

I talked with God that morning, pleading with him not to let me get that way. (My old style of praying.) Instead of leaving it with him, I began to think of ways to handle this, none of them good. I knew what I should do. Accept whatever came into my life. It took awhile. Then I told God I would accept anything that happened in the future. If it happened, then fine. Maybe he could use me even in that mental condition. Trust is the real issue. Do I trust God? I want to, and I pray I will for the rest of my life on this crazy planet. There is a good reason Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow.

Here are some more verses on the “cup” we are to drink. We have Jesus as our example on accepting the cup of our life.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.   Psalm 23:5

I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.  Psalm 116:13

We're Caught in A Trap.

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“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he can release my foot from the snare.” Psalm 25:15

When I read this today, I thought of a wolf or fox caught in a trap. It is such a sad image. But of course, David was writing about sin and the death it causes.

We all get trapped by sin; we are born having sinful and selfish desires that will get us into trouble. We need the Lord to free us from that. We cannot do it by ourselves.

I remembered when Jesus said to his friends, “Without me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5 Until we reach that conclusion, we are tilting at windmills. Only God has the strength needed to free us from our sinful nature. That is why David said, so many times, “The Lord is my strength.”

This doesn’t mean we will be perfectly good here in this world. As James says, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes.” James 3:2 And John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8,9

Psalm 25 is so beautiful. I wrote it out in my own words this morning. I’ll share it here with you.

I want to put my trust in you, Lord. May Satan not triumph over me. I know that the one who hopes in you will not be ashamed. But utter shame will be the lot of the wicked.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth, for you are my God and Savior. I hope in you all day long.

Don’t forget your love and mercy, but do forget the sins of my youth and all my rebellious ways. Remember me according to your great love, for you are good.

Yes, you are good and wise; that is why you can teach us the right way to go. All your ways are loving and faithful. Forgive my sin, though it is great.

Who are those who fear the Lord? God will teach them; they will inherit their own land in heaven. God confides in those who fear him. He makes a contract with them. My eyes are always on the Lord, for only he can release my feet from a trap.

Come to me, dear Lord, for I am lonely and afflicted. Please relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from mental pain. Guard my life and rescue me, for I take refuge in you. My hope, Lord, is in you alone.

We Dine with Him.

FOTO:Fortepan — ID 26316

“I love the Lord because he has heard my voice…”  Psalm 116:1

This verse has been important for me. These words have brought me joy, peace and trust. They have touched me in ways I deeply need.

If you feel no one hears your voice, if you feel ignored, and if you feel unknown by all people on earth, you are wrong. God hears your voice and knows you like no other. When you feel depressed, and you know that when you share those sad feelings with others, it upsets them; know that it doesn’t upset God. He has broad shoulders and he can take it.

He doesn’t only take it, he feels it, welcomes it and enters into those feelings. “Come to me, all who are tired and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 

In Isaiah, Jesus is called a, “wonderful counselor.” I can attest to that, after I learned to bring my troubles to him instead of family members. If I was angry at someone, I ranted about it to God. If I was sad, I shared my sorrow. If I was happy, I thanked him over and over. If I felt in despair, sometimes all I could say was, “God, help me.” Through this time with God, I have found him to be the strong shoulder I needed to lean on.

 “Look, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice, I will come in to him and we will dine together.”  Revelation 3:20

Dining together is an intimate occasion. There is usually communication of a personal nature. Notice we have an invitation to hear his voice also. We listen to each other.

And how has God spoken to me? In different ways. A Bible verse might come into my mind. A story of a person in the Bible might flash into my mind to help me see I wasn’t alone in having troubles. And sometimes, I hear words in my mind that encourage and strengthen me. Usually, they are words I would never have thought on my own, so I know it is him. Sometimes, I feel his loving presence.

It is a tremendous thing to realize you carry the Triune God in your spirit. The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit. They live inside you, if you ask them to come in. They know how much you need them and are happy to join with you in walking this life. “The Lord delights (takes pleasure) in his people.”  Psalm 149:4