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.

I Got The Message Bible.

I was reading something, can’t remember what, and the writer quoted from, The Message Bible. The words were so wonderful and alive that I kept reading those verses for days.

So, I looked up The Message Bible online and found out it was written by pastor Eugene Peterson, a scholar, theologian, poet and author, who reads Hebrew and Greek. This is what he said of his reason for writing The Message.

“While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren’t feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat.’”  Eugene Peterson.

Vitality and directness,” that is what I have found in reading The Message.

“For more than two years, Eugene Peterson devoted all his efforts to The Message® New Testament. His primary goal was to capture the tone of the text and the original conversational feel of the Greek, in contemporary English.” : https://www.biblestudytools.com/msg/

I had read his translation was idiomatic. I looked for descriptions of that and found this at:


Idioms exist in every language. They are words or phrases that aren’t meant to be taken literally. For example, if you say someone has “cold feet,” it doesn’t mean their toes are actually cold. Rather, it means they’re nervous about something.

Idioms can’t be deduced merely by studying the words in the phrase. If taken literally, you would think that someone with cold feet has… cold feet. But, after living with a certain group of people for a period of time, you’ll start to pick up their expressions. Let’s explore some idiom examples in American everyday language, international language, and the language of the arts.

The examples below demonstrate how you can’t really deduce the meaning of these expressions without knowing what they mean. The next time someone says they’re feeling “under the weather,” you’ll know it has nothing to do with weather patterns, but rather that they’re feeling quite ill.”

  • Getting fired turned out to be a blessing in disguise. – Getting fired (normally a negative event) turned out to be a good thing.
  • These red poppies are a dime a dozen. – These red poppies are very common.
  • Don’t beat around the bush. – Just say what you really mean.

I guess this is going to be a long post.

 I’ve been walking with God for 50 years. Of course, my walk looks like this:


God’s walk looks like this: ********************

 Still, that’s okay. He’s beside me all the way. When I read The Message’s story of creation I thought, “This is the God I know!”

I’ll share some of the verses from The Message and you can see what you think.

Genesis 1:2-15

God spoke: “Light!”
        And light appeared.
    God saw that light was good
        and separated light from dark.
    God named the light Day,
        he named the dark Night.
    It was evening, it was morning—
    Day One

6-8 God spoke: “Sky! In the middle of the waters;
        separate water from water!”
    God made sky.
    He separated the water under sky
        from the water above sky.
    And there it was:
        he named sky the Heavens;
    It was evening, it was morning—
    Day Two.

9-10 God spoke: “Separate!
        Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place;
    Land, appear!”
        And there it was.
    God named the land Earth.
        He named the pooled water Ocean.
    God saw that it was good.

11-13 God spoke: “Earth, green up! Grow all varieties
        of seed-bearing plants,
    Every sort of fruit-bearing tree.”
        And there it was.
    Earth produced green seed-bearing plants,
        all varieties,
    And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts.
        God saw that it was good.
    It was evening, it was morning—
    Day Three.

14-15 God spoke: “Lights! Come out!
        Shine in Heaven’s sky!
    Separate Day from Night.
        Mark seasons and days and years,
    Lights in Heaven’s sky to give light to Earth.”
        And there it was.

The creation verses go on longer, but I’m just showing an example. For me, this translation shows God’s strength. I don’t know why, but the regular translations of, “And God said, “Let there be light,” seem passive.

I’ll show you the beginning of the Beatitudes from, The Message. Matthew 1:3-16

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Salt and Light

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

What Did Jesus Say About the So-Called Little Things?

Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne…

Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’

And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’”   Matthew 25:31-40

The other day, I was reading these verses and then went to see what Bible commentators had to say about them. I was disappointed to see a couple of them said something like this:

“If God will reward us for doing these small things, what will he give those who did the harder things and those who preached the word.”

Hmm, well I disagree with them. I think Jesus did mention the hard things. What is easier, to preach or share your last meal? What is easier, to give out pamphlets about Jesus or drive a distance to visit someone in jail? What is easier, to be a pastor or look after people who are sick and even take them into your house to care for them?

I think, that as usual, God’s thoughts are high above our thoughts and his ways above our ways. And I also think that this has been the problem with the Christian religion through the ages.

If the Christian churches had put suffering people first, the gospel would have been preached first in actions, and then in preaching. If a person is loved and helped by someone, with no other agenda than to help and love them, they would them be open to the good news of Jesus, for that is what he did and the common people loved him.

Yes, the common people loved him, but the church leaders hated him. They were jealous of his popularity and afraid of losing their power. I see church leaders like this today.

When Paul wrote about the church leaders who are around at the time of the end, this is what he said about them:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.   2Timothy 3:1-5

There are people like this leading churches today. It is easy to spot them because their actions and words betray their hearts. Jesus told us to be careful of whom we listen to. He said we will know them by the fruits of their lives. May God open our eyes and hearts to know the truth and follow it.

(You might wonder who I think I am by writing this stuff. Me too. I am nobody. I just write what my heart is full of.)

It is Finished. The Seven Last Plagues.

I noticed, when I was reading Revelation Chapter 16, that these same words are spoken in heaven. This time it means the probation of the world is over. There is no more time, no more governments, no more pleading from God to man or man to God. The work of God for the world is finished.

“Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple saying, “It is finished.” Then the thunder crashed and rolled and the lightning flashed. A great earthquake struck – the worst since people were placed on the earth.” Rev.16:17,18

It goes on to say that people cursed God because of the terrible plagues that were falling on the earth. But I believe it isn’t God who sends these plagues, it is us. We are killing the planet now and one day will destroy it completely.

The first plague is sores on mankind. Probably chemical warfare, some of which produce sores.

The second plague is the sea became like the blood of a dead man. Everything in the sea dies. We don’t know what ocean or sea the Bible refers to; but we do know what we have done to them. It doesn’t surprise me the creatures of the oceans will die.

The third plague is the rivers and springs become like blood. We have certainly polluted those also.

The fourth plague is the sun scorching the earth and man dying from the heat. Global warming at its worst.

The fifth plague is darkness. Perhaps large electrical grids going out in the cities.

The sixth plague is the drying up of the Euphrates River and the armies coming together for war. A war over water? Yes, very likely. Right now, Turkey wants to dam the Tigris River because they need more water. Iraq and other countries say this will take their water, and they are right.

The seventh plague is the great earthquake and huge hailstones. We are already experiencing very large hailstones. I read in the news that recently hailstones that weighed 50 lbs. fell upon a city.

These events are coming and some have already started. God will not have to send them. We have created them all by ourselves.

Jesus said,

There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among the nations, bewildered by the roaring of the sea and the surging of the waves.  Men will faint from fear and anxiety over what is coming upon the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  At that time, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

…But watch yourselves, or your hearts will be weighed down by dissipation, drunkenness, and the worries of life—and that day will spring upon you suddenly like a snare.  For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  So, keep watch at all times, and pray that you may have the strength to escape all that is about to happen and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Luke Chapter 21.

Wrestling with God.

My grandson died almost 8 years ago. When someone you love dies it can be a terrible shock or you may be prepared for it after a long illness, or be prepared because they were very old.

My grandson was 21 when he died and it was a terrible shock to everyone in the family. He died because he drank heavily and then fell asleep on a soft sofa with his face down. He never woke up. The coroner said he had seen this happen to young men quite often.

His mother and I poured out our hearts to God. We talked about it with him for a long time. When the pain seemed too much we reached up to God and he healed us. He was a great comfort, and I don’t know how we would have made it through without his help.

But my grandson’s brother and my other daughter did not do this. My daughter would not speak about what happened and didn’t want us to either. She bottled up her sadness and rage until she had a mental breakdown about 4 years later. She went to counseling and got better.

My other grandson is still suffering. He and his brother were extremely close. He found the pain to be too much to handle and a few years after the death he started taking drugs to dull the pain. Eventually he became addicted to heroin. I know I have told this story before, but this time I wanted to share how important it is to talk to God or a counselor about the loss of someone you love.

He was in such bad shape after a few years of heroin that he knew he had to get off it. Also, he was tempted to start stealing in order to buy it. His mother did everything she could to help him. She wanted him to go into a rehab center and paid $5,000. He went for one day and half a night. He doesn’t feel comfortable being around people.

I didn’t know that when you quit heroin your legs hurt so much you want to cut them off. The pain is awful. My daughter lived with him for three months helping him through withdrawal. He went to the government program where they give you methadone. Oh, how that helped him! How grateful we are to the government and what they had done for him. He is still on methadone and doing very well physically.

But he has never dealt with the heavy grief in his heart. The worst month for him is August because that is when his brother died. It isn’t quite August and he is in a bad place right now. My daughter is going to see him tonight. He lives in the next town.

I texted him last night and told him to pray to God for peace of mind and don’t stop asking until he gets it. I have done that when I was depressed and God always came through.

I remember saying to God, “I’m not leaving this bed until I feel better.” And I kept praying. And then I felt better; I could face the day.

Now, when I pray, I also ask for joy and happiness in my day. I know God wants me to have peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that, and what God has said, he will do. Sometimes we just have to keep asking.

This makes me think of Jacob, when he was wrestling with God. He said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.” You would think that was pretty pushy of Jacob, but apparently, God didn’t. He praised Jacob and gave him a new name: Israel.

Jacob’s story can inspire us to do the same. Don’t let go of God until he blesses you. The Bible says, “pursue peace,” so ask for it every time your heart is troubled, and keep asking.

A List of Names.

Vietnam Memorial, photo by Noel Sheffer.

I was listening to a podcast this morning called, “Pray the Word with David Platt.”  He spoke on this verse of the Bible:

Nehemiah 11:12

“…and their brothers who did the work of the house, 822; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah…”

The house spoken of in the verse is the House of the Lord, the temple. It needed to be repaired or rebuilt. The Babylonians had destroyed it.

Mr. Platt said it seems like this is a Bible verse that could not help anyone – a list of names – but this is what he said he got out of it.

We count. Our names mean something to God. What we do means something to God.

I remember Jesus saying to his disciples, “Don’t rejoice the evil spirits obey you; but rejoice your name is written in heaven.”

It’s a pretty big deal our names are written in the Book of Life. It is much more important than if we can cast out demons like Jesus did.

I loved what Mr. Platt said about us and our names, he said, “You are part of a great picture that spans centuries.” Yes, as each generation comes and goes, those who believe are a part of those who build up the kingdom of God.

He Knows Our Name.

I was reading Jeremiah when I came across this verse:

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.  Jeremiah 7:13

I didn’t remember reading it before, but the thought came, “That is like the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus bend down and wrote something in the dirt. What he wrote convicted the men who wanted to stone her and they walked away from doing so.” John 8.

Many think Jesus wrote the men’s names down and also the sins they committed. I think that is right because these men were the hypocrites of Jerusalem who were always trying to trip Jesus up so they could kill him. They were self-righteous men and yet men who did great evil. I think when Jesus wrote, the men saw how evil they were and also did not want their sins to be made public.

If our names are written on the earth it means earth is the place we consider our home. We belong to the world and want to belong here. All our thoughts are on this world and our role in it.

Jesus talked about people who consider this earth their home. He said they are like good seed planted by the thorns. He said, “The seed sown among the thorns is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.”

We can have our name written in heaven, in the Book of Life, if we so choose. It means heaven is our true home. Instead of constantly thinking about jobs, houses, movies, family, romantic love, sex etc. we will choose to make time to talk with God, ask him to be in us each day and study about him in the Bible.

There is a verse in Revelation that always makes me smile. It is about a new name that God will give us. That name will only be known between us and God,

“To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’  Revelation 2:17

Here are some verses about the Book of Life:

Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  Luke 10:20

And all who dwell on earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.  Revelation 13:8

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And there were open books, and one of them was the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books.  Revelation 20:12

And of course, there is the Name Above All Names: Jesus Christ.

Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place

and gave Him the name above all names,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Philippeans 2:9-11