Summary: Second in the Exit Strategies Series: Solving the puzzles off the FOB

Solving the Puzzles off the FOB

All Scripture marked NKJV: The New King James Version. 1996, c1982.Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

We are in the second sermon in a series we are calling “Exit Strategies”. Once we open the door to get off the FOB, once we exit this mundane interstate of the repetitive and routine, we will be encountering an entire different world—a world of puzzles.

Recently, I was encouraged by watching others around me to begin working on the mystic puzzles of SUDOKU.

I found a book in a care package and it sat in my CHU for about a month. One day, I opened it up and started a puzzle. I struggled to find the first number to put in the blocks, then the second. Soon, I completed my first puzzle and all the numbers actually matched.

At first, I was very happy to do them, they have numbers but don’t require any math—but they are addictive. They kind of like “Corn nuts”, once you eat one, before you know it you have finished an entire bag.

I was actually very proud of myself that I had been able to solve this first puzzle. One thing I like about my book of Sudoku , is that it doesn’t tell you whether they are hard of easy—so I assume that they are all very difficult. It makes me feel smarter.

I started doing these puzzles for fun. Then, I began reading articles about how good they are for you. There was even an article in Physiology Today that discussed how these puzzles keep your mind sharp and prolong your life.

We all like to solve puzzles once and awhile, they give us satisfaction, accomplishment, and a few minutes of escape.

That is until we get off the FOB.

When we get off the FOB, we will have a whole new set of puzzles to solve. We will go back to making decisions on how to raise your children, how to interact with your children, how to romance our spouses, how to pay the bills, how to fix the plumbing, what to do with our career, and so on.

How are you going to solve these puzzles that come your way?

What is going to happen when your expectations don’t measure up to reality?

Where are you going to stand when you find yourself having to make a choice between what is morally right and the influence of others?

Tonight, we are going to spend some time discussing how to solve these puzzles that we will encounter.

When solving puzzles the first step to a solution is

1. Patience.

When we solve any kind of puzzle, patience is always a factor. Why? Because, if we knew the answer right away—they wouldn’t be puzzles. We must take the time to be patient as we take the puzzle apart to uncover the solution.

I noticed, yesterday that somebody has started a jigsaw puzzle in MWR South. Sometimes those puzzles can take days even weeks to finish.

At MWR South there are other puzzles going on. There are Quilts being made and there are Plastic Models being built. They both take time and patience to finish.

To do the correctly, it takes even more time. I could probably rush in and make a quilt but it would look terrible. And I could probably rush in and build a plastic model, but there would be glue everywhere and there would be pieces missing.

This is the same as all of the other puzzles that we encounter. If we rush into the solution without thinking them through, we will have a mess on our hands.

We can’t solve our financial issues ten minutes after you get off the plane. We can’t solve our relationship issues, by one candlelight dinner. We can’t solve our parenting issues, by a quick trip to Toys ‘R Us. These issues will take time to solve, we must be prepared to stick it out—because finding the solutions are important.

The Bible teaches us to have patience. Patience is based on trusting that God will provide solutions to our questions but also is based on love. I Corinthians 13 says “love is patient.”

We are to be lovingly patient. The Bible uses the word longsuffering.

I like this word…longsuffering. Not just momentary patience, but longsuffering—that means that things may take awhile, but hang in there and be lovingly patient.

Colossians 3 12-13 explains our need to be patient this way.

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.(Col 3:12-13, NKJV)

When you get home, this needs to be in your heart and mind at every turn. This is the attitude that you need to approach life off the FOB--put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving.

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