I play Solitaire on my phone. The app I chose has a daily challenge. Each day they give you a game of solitaire to play and you try and beat it. You get a crown each day you  win. You can earn silver and gold crowns. Silver is earned and then after winning so many that same month you earn a gold crown. The great thing about this is you can play the daily challenge as long as you want to or until you give up or win. I love a challenge. There are times I win at the first try and other times I have to go back and play several times changing my strategy or changing my moves. Finally, I win. I receive my crown and I am happy. I anticipate playing the next day to see if I can win again or if I am defeated. They never take your crowns away; you just don’t get any when you lose the daily challenge. 
Several weeks ago I was playing and God (who often nudges me) gave me an analogy to solitaire and my life. My ultimate goal is just like this game to receive crowns, but His crowns. They are not trophies, but crowns of glory. Another goal I have is to come out a winner in life (not in the world’s view, but His) so I can spend eternity with Him.
There are some major differences though too. In the game of solitaire I get to play until I win or I give up. In my life I have only one chance at it. I don’t get to do this life over and over until I get it right. I don’t know of anyone who has lived more than one life. I know people who have had second chances at life and we will discuss that later, but no one has had a chance to live their life over. You get one chance and that’s it.  
The other thing that is different is I can go back play the same game but make different choices and the game turns out differently. Stay with me on this thought. When I make a move in my life it is done. I can’t go back and take those moves back, I can’t change those moves and I can’t make it turn out differently. For instance, I say something I regret to someone. It’s done I can’t take those words back. I can’t make the situation turn our differently. I do something to someone; once again I can’t take that action back and make it turn out differently. God gives me a direction to go and I go in the opposite direction and I realize that was not a smart move and things aren’t going well. I can’t change what I did. It’s over with.
Now the great thing about all of this is with one smart move (well maybe a few smart moves) I can change my life and I can change the direction my life goes. I can still win at this game of life if I choose to play differently. Even though I can’t go back and change the wrong moves I made or I can’t go back and take back those words I can ask God for mercy and ask forgiveness from those who I may have hurt. When I take a wrong move in the wrong direction I can acknowledge I did so, ask God for forgiveness and then be willing to make those changes in my life or to move in the direction He has called me. 
The other thing I have noticed about playing solitaire is I lose and I find myself playing the game over. If I am not careful I am apt to make the same moves and the results are still the same. I lose. I have to be careful about going back and not redoing the same mistakes in my own life. I can really mess things up. I can go back and make things right and be on the right track to win, but then something comes along and I make those same silly moves and I have messed up again. The key for me and for all of us is to learn from our mistakes. Yes, I may play the game a dozen times before I realize I am making the same mistake. Then God speaks to us, or sends someone to us to show us what we are doing wrong; we then learn what we are doing, we change our ways and our steps and then we find we have different results. 
I enjoy receiving crowns in the game of solitaire, but in life I don’t think so much about receiving crowns. I think more about how I want other people to know God’s love, His grace and His mercy. It’s more about sharing that God died on the cross for us and was resurrected so we might have life if we accept Him and follow His ways. I am competitive; I love to win, but in life it’s not about winning it’s about helping others along the way to play so they may learn to win and so they will not have to go back and make as many changes along the way as I have had to. 
If you have noticed your living your life the same way day in and day out and the results are the same, maybe it’s time to go back and change how you play the game. Maybe it’s time to seek God in your life. Maybe it’s time to learn from your mistakes and make some different moves so life will turn out differently. 
We can’t go back and change the moves we have made, but we can change the moves we make and make life better. We can seek God in our lives and ask for help in making different moves. It’s a choice we each have to make: play the same game over and over with the same moves or play the same game, learn from our mistakes, make different moves with a different outcome. How will you play the game of life?
Dear Lord thank you for teaching me in everyday ordinary ways. Something as simple as a game of solitaire can be a learning tool if I am open to listening to you. Help me as I play this game called life to make smart moves, to listen to your guidance and to follow your ways. Teach me it’s not all about winning but helping others along the way to be successful. Thank you Jesus for simple minded lessons; something I often need. Amen

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