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Mrs. Bedlam and the Rules of the Game

Whether we are playing a board game or assembling a bunk bed; whether we are driving a car or starting our lawn mower; whether we are freestyling in the kitchen or using a recipe, there are certain rules in life that we must follow if we are hopeful of a good, or tasty, outcome.

You cannot throw the playing pieces away and hope to have a successful board game. You cannot toss the instructions in the garbage can and hope to assemble that bunkbed stress-free. You cannot bake your cake at 500 degrees for 45 minutes.

There are rules, and the same applies for our Christian life. If we want to become mature Christians, there must be constant growth.

2 Peter 3:18 tells us to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How do we do that? How do we grow in knowledge?

I found the following list of daily instructions at and I think they are perfect.

For one to grow properly certain rules must be observed for good spiritual health.

Read your Bible daily. Do not be content to skim through a chapter merely to satisfy your conscience. Hide the Word of God in your heart. It comforts, guides, corrects, encourages – all we need is there.

Learn the secret of prayer. Prayer is communicating. Every prayer that you pray will be answered. Sometimes that answer may be “Yes” and sometimes “No,” and sometimes it is “Wait,” but nevertheless it will be answered.

Rely constantly on the Holy Spirit. We know that the Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans , and what a comfort that should be to the weakest of us. Stand aside and let Him take over all the choices and decisions of your life.

Attend church regularly. The visible church is Christ’s organization upon earth. Christians need one another, we need to gather together to worship God and nothing can take the place of church attendance.

Be a witnessing Christian. We witness in two ways: by life and by word – and the two, where possible, should go hand in hand.

Let love be the ruling principle of your life. Jesus said to those who followed Him, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). The greatest demonstration of the fact that we are Christians is that we love one another.

Be an obedient Christian. Let Christ have first place in all the choices of your life.

Learn how to meet temptation. Temptation is not sin. It is yielding that is sin. Let Christ through the Holy Spirit do the fighting for you.

Be a wholesome Christian. Our lives and appearance should commend the Gospel and make it attractive to others.

Live above your circumstances. Don’t let your circumstances get you down. Learn to live graciously within them, realizing the Lord Himself is with you. (Source:

To recap:

Read your Bible daily. Learn the secret of prayer. Rely constantly on the Holy Spirit. Attend church regularly. Be a witnessing Christian. Let love be the ruling principle of your life. Be an obedient Christian. Learn how to meet temptation. Be a wholesome Christian. Live above your circumstances.

Ten bullet points for growing in Christ.

I want to look at the last one: Live above your circumstances.

You know, there are many people that live above their means. In fact, that is not too difficult to do these days!

The experts at say if you live paycheck to paycheck; if your credit score has dropped; if you have stopped your retirement contributions; if a big portion of your income goes to housing; if your savings account is not growing; if you have been charged overdraft fees more than once in a year; if you have never set a budget; if you are leasing a car you cannot afford to buy; if you are only making minimum payments on credit cards; if you do not have an emergency fund…well, you are living beyond your means.

I bet many reading this today will relate. I certainly can. The cost of living is off the charts! It’s hard; very hard at times. But Jesus invites us to live above our circumstances and that is a much different story.

“The keepers of the Los Angeles Zoo had a saying–they said this, “The zoo would be a great place to work, if you could just keep the people out.” There were many reasons for this slogan–one was the day when Mrs. Bedlam (as she became known) showed up.

She was a senior, familiar, but unknown to the zoo staff, until the day she slipped through the gate entrance and security with two bags filled with rubber balls of various shapes, colors, sizes and textures.

She’d been to the zoo before and concluded the animals were bored, so she decided to bring them some recreation. No one knows her real name, but she is forever known as Mrs. Bedlam. She confidentially threw balls into every exhibit. The seals played with theirs, but the bears and monkeys ate theirs—which showed for days afterward. Some of the animals ignored the balls, but the female black-maned lioness did not.

Mrs. Bedlam tossed the lion a medium-size hard rubber blue ball. She bit down so hard, the ball became impaled on her awesome right canine. No amount of clawing or rubbing her face on the ground could force it loose. She rubbed so hard to get the ball off her tooth, she cut her face and began to bleed and salivate profusely.

The keeper knew his animal was in distress and called for the vet on duty. They managed to get the lioness into her night quarters and the new vet leaned close against the bars in the back narrow hallway to get a good look. Being new, he didn’t know how much the lioness hated people, resulting in the lioness lunging for the vet’s face, while letting out a gigantic roar.

A lion’s roar is impressive. In the wild, a lion’s roar can be heard from five miles away. But from three feet away, in a tight, enclosed, cement hallway, a lion’s roar is a major event. It rumbled through the keeper’s body and the vet’s body, causing both to be temporarily paralyzed. The keeper was expecting it and overcame the shock in a minute, but the vet was not expecting it and immediately passed out.

After he recovered, the vet finally tranquilized the lion, then thanks to Mrs. Bedlam’s “happy gift”, the vet had to use a hacksaw to remove the blue ball from her canine. When old Mrs. Bedlam called the zoo the next day to find out how the animals liked her special fun, she immediately hung up when she heard what actually happened, before they could trace her call. They never saw her at the zoo again.

Crazy circumstances–the best of intentions, just a little harmless fun and wham . . . your entire life ignites into chaos.

You write a note, but it’s misunderstood. You make a statement which causes harm. You comment, setting others against you. You do nothing, but that makes people mad. You go to work, attend school, talk to your spouse, parent your kids, hang out with family—then suddenly, with no warning, the roar of bad circumstances hits.

You can be serving Christ, teaching the Word, discipling others, trying to help, but like a lunge for your face, everything goes wrong. How do you respond? How do you live above your circumstances? How do you honor Christ when Mrs. Bedlam shows up?...” (Source:

The answer is found in Philippians 4:11-13.

“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” ESV

Did you find the answer? “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

To live above our circumstances, we must depend on God’s wisdom, care, and mighty power. If we choose to stand firm with Christ, we will become anchored in God’s character and thus we will live above our circumstances.

Whatever life has thrown at you, if you choose to stand firm with Jesus, you will be an overcomer. You will overcome because of your faith. Faith is the key.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:4 NKJV

by Jeanette Stark – Friday, January 6, 2023

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