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Ice crystals hung precariously from the "closed" sign as I nudged up against it. Light snow toppled over my boots as my skis clanked together. I moved to survey the fresh powder. The only thing keeping me from the untracked hillside was the rope. Without hesitation, I ditched under the rope and quickly began down the mountain, in case anyone saw me. It was just as I'd imagined: light and thigh-deep. In my euphoria, I lost track of how far I'd gone. When I stopped to cut back inbounds, I realized that a cliff separated me from the ski resort. There was no going back. My only choice was to continue skiing down into the miles and miles of heavy forest. Night began to fall and I realized I was in serious trouble.

The boundary set on that ski run was there for a reason. The ski patrol who placed that rope knew that if a person went in that direction, a cliff would separate them from the resort and they would not be able to get back. The purpose of the sign was for the skier's benefit. Obey the ropes: have a joyful, fun day. Duck the ropes: enter into the danger sone.

God puts boundaries in our lives so that we can live life fully. When scripture tells us to do or not do something, it is for our good - to usher us to our greatest potential. The same is true in parenting. Why do our children need boundaries? Because in giving them limits, we are after their best.

As parents, we are the ski patrol putting up ropes in the right places. We know our children. We know where they are vulnerable. We know where they are going to be tempted. We sense when they are headed out of bounds.

By God's amazing grace, and to my complete relief, I ended up running into two other men who had also ducked the ski ropes that day. We took turns breaking trail and eventually found an old road where a logger picked us up and returned us to safety. I was fortunate. That situation could have ended very differently.

Boundaries benefit us. They save us heartache, repel trouble and keep us from danger and harm. Learn to thank God for boundaries in our own lives and ask him to help us set them well in our families.

Teach a child how to follow the right way; even when he is old he will stay on course. -Proverbs 22:6 (VOICE)

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don't neglect your mother's instructions. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. -Proverbs 1:8-9


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