Connect 4 x 4

We try to have movie nights here at the Zbylot household on Friday nights. Having missed it the last few weekends for various reasons, we were past due. Naturally, the kids always want to watch a movie, but with the busyness of the week we decided we would have a no television, no computer, no Wii night. Scott and Nathan began grinding the rest of the deer meat as I sat on the floor with the other three to try once again to play Apples to Apples. (We had attempted this earlier in the week, but it only resulted in selfish attitudes and made it no fun to play.) Last night we modified the rules making an all-time judge and began the competition. We had a blast even though I came in last place. Moving from Apples to Apples to Connect 4×4 which is not your traditional Connect 4 since you can win by playing on both sides of the game grid, the competition increased! On our fourth round I was just about to connect four when Nathan comes in and sits next to Peter whose turn happens to be right before mine and blurts out, “Peter go right here you win!” What!?! Peter places his circle in the slot, turns, and bear hugs Nathan to the ground with a huge thank you. Scott smiles from the kitchen knowing what just happened even though he couldn’t see it. With that I move to the kitchen to bag up all the meat and prepare it for the freezer as Nathan takes my place in the game.

The evening trails on and periodically bickering trickles out of the living room. The Zbylot’s have struggled all week with fighting with one another and yesterday morning the Lord showed me in Proverbs 20:3 one way we could hide His word in our hearts so that we might not sin. The focus for us yesterday was this “It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute, but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.” Throughout the day I reminded the kids of what the verse said and would ask them what kind of person they wanted to be and how they could handle the situation. By the time we had to pick Scott up from work, they still were not heeding the message so when we arrived back home they each had to write it three times, memorize it and tell me how it applied to their lives. Even with all of that they each sat having now moved to Clue Jr., getting themselves into quarrels. Gently Scott and I would project our voices towards the living room and ask them to remember their verse. The kids would modify their actions and continue on.

Why am I sharing all of this? Two reasons. #1-Our household sometimes feels like a constant battle field with six people all wanting their own way and barking out orders. We don’t have the peaceful, tranquil, Little House on the Prairie lifestyle that some people might think we live. #2-I began to think about the impact last night had on our family because we chose to turn off technology. God had laid on my heart the verse He wanted us to focus on yesterday. He gave us a multitude of opportunities to put His word into practice. But the only reason that we had those opportunities is because we were forced to interact with one another in person. Yes, we still have arguments as to who stole someone’s seat when they get up to get their popcorn or a drink as we watch a movie together as a family, but the opportunities to interact with one another are extremely slim compared to the amount we have when we are trying to find the card that best matches the word “shy” or finding the best strategy for getting four in a row before everyone else. As parents trying to raise up children to be imitators of God, we must be able to live out the Word of God in our lives and this does not usually happen by watching someone else’s life in a movie. What gets passed down is what has been taught as you “sit in your house, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Connecting our walk to our talk ensures a four in a row win.

My Heart’s Prayer: Lord, help me to connect my walk to my talk. The kids need to see more of Your word lived out in my life than from my mouth. Help me as I read Your word to apply it to my life so that it might help foster a desire to live a life in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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