Monday, December 22, 2014

Day 356- A Pathway First

Today I did a puzzle called "Change A Word" for my "first."

This puzzle gives you a word to start with and a word that ends the puzzle.  You have to change one letter at a time on the beginning word to get to the word at the end.  For example, if the first word is take and the last word is part the sequence would be take, tare, tart, part.  Another example would be if the first word is sand and the last word is pile the sequence would be sand, sane, sale, pale, pile.  When I found this puzzle in a puzzle book that Laura had it seemed like a good "first."  May I add that these first two puzzles were by far the easiest on the page.

The hardest part is when you have to use a word that one hardly ever uses; like ayes.  Who says that?  Yet, that was one of the links to get to the desired word. How do I know this?  I did not cheat (the answers are in the back of the book). I asked Laura to look in the back of the book and sort of help me along.  That's when she told me I was going to struggle with a particular word.  After she gave me that word (OK, and one more) I was able to solve that sequence. I will say that was the hardest sequence. 

Today I've had a head cold and felt sluggish all day. This puzzle really helped my head cold. Now, my headache is about twice the size of when I started.  This year of "first" is not for the faint of heart (or head).

The puzzles challenged me to form links from one word to another.  My brain was trying to make connections it usually doesn't make. It was fun on the first couple of puzzles.  As the puzzles got harder, the fun level went down.  Of course, the sense of accomplishment went up except for when Laura looked in the back of the book for me.

I was reminded that sometimes growing in Christ happens differently than I think it will.  I tend to think growing in Christ will happen when I am in a quiet place praying, worshipping in church, or reading a Christian book.  I do believe I grow in Christ when I do those activities out of a love for Jesus.  God also uses disappointments, irritating people, betrayals, and puzzling situations (seemed like a good phrase for this "first" to help me to grow. 

The Bible says in James 1:2-5, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  It is hard to remember in the midst of a trying time that God will use this to help me become more like His Son.  Jesus certainly had His share of irritating people, betrayals, disappointments, and puzzling situations in His life.  I need to be able to trust God and react the way He did with my trials.  I know God will give me the grace to do that. I need to remember that the trial is not just some stupid thing I have to put up with but a way to become more like Christ.

Puzzling my way through the abundant life,

3 things I thank God for today
1. The way Joel laughs at the Andy Griffith show
2. Deer sausage (and the sweet folks who brought me some)
3. God can use any situation to make me more like Jesus; in His providence there are no wasted experiences.

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