Out of the Fight

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 20

Gold Nugget
Verse 3: 
It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.

Commentary
“I don’t care who started it, I’m about to finish it!” Many of us have heard this from our parents growing up and almost as many have continued the tradition of this saying with our children. Putting an end to a quarrel is often times unachievable by the actual participants. Growing up, we needed an outside intervention to stop our fights. Those of us that never learned any different, often still require an outside intervention to stop a fight. Ask a police officer or judge and they will attest that many times they have had to “finish it for them”. It takes a great deal of discipline to pull your dogs out of the fight. My grandmother used to say, “It takes two to tango”. I had an issue with that claim until I got old enough to see the truth. Although one party may be absolutely wrong and the other absolutely right, it still takes two participants in the ring to have a bout. It takes a special element in someone that will enable them to suffer their pride, give up their ground and turn from a fight. This special element is not a stock item in the Steve Vaughn edition. It is in my nature to hold my ground, make an argument and not be defeated. That being said, I have learned some and am still learning that not all fights are worth the reward. If you attack my children, there’s more fight in me than you have to give, but not everything is worthy of such a retaliation. Sometimes a victory by one side is still a loss for both. Although it is probably true of many of us that we do not posses this trait or element that enables us to walk away, we can still accomplish this difficult task. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, we learn a valuable and irreplaceable lesson concerning what we cannot possibly do and yet still accomplish. We learn that even when we are not strong enough to accomplish a certain thing, that’s when God likes to work the most. We see that accomplishing what we cannot possibly accomplish testifies of the power of God in our lives. In that, He receives glory. You may have a situation where you just don’t want to pull your dogs out of the fight. Anyone can start a fight, but only one that will submit to the will of God and quit for Him, will receive honor. That is, the kind of honor that testifies of God being in them. Today’s “gold nugget” reminds us that, It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.

Prayer
Lord, today I take my dogs out of the fight. It is in my nature to stay in the fight, but even in victory; both sides would surely lose. I receive the strength from you that enables me to do what I am not capable of doing. I pull myself out of the ring. The battle is yours.  Amen

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Taking Sport

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 10

Gold Nugget
Verse: 
To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.

Commentary
As a minister, I take great interest in human behaviors. I recently watched a television program about troubled youth in gangs. Of the violent and destructive behavior I witnessed in this documentary, the most disturbing and bone chilling was the reaction of the perpetrators to their own crimes. What I cannot understand of all the crimes against humanity is when these gangs are just strolling along and then jump on an innocent person with nothing other to gain, but the pleasure of watching them suffer. The abusers are bouncing around, laughing, smiling into the camera and encouraging each other to up the abuse. You just want to jump through the TV and rescue the person. These people are like today’s “gold nugget”, To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.  They actually take sport in their evil behavior. I can’t understand taking pleasure in this evil thing... or can I? When we paint a picture like the true story above, we look with disgust at those with such disregard for moral fiber. Its one thing to sin, but hopefully sin will bring shame and you will rot with guilt until you cannot stand it any longer and repent. Just so you know; God sees everything we do just as easily as I witnessed those events from my easy chair. He watches us in our lives and is stricken with hurt and pain as He sees us continuing in sin and even taking sport in it. Surely He wonders how we can behave the way we do and smile into the camera. He sees the married man that is pursuing another woman and maybe even catches her and sins with pleasure and excitement. He sees the woman being caught by him and then pleasure in the catch. He also sees the wife at home with the kids, crying knowing that her marriage is a sham. I’m sure He wants to jump through the TV and rescue her and those kids. Sometimes He does and sometimes He allows the man space to repent. He sees the woman that has no regard for the sacrifices her husband makes and treats him like a subordinate with complaints and degrading behavior. He sees the parents that have trained their children to pursue anything in life more than pursuing the One that ensures them escape from eternal destruction. He sees the______ …you fill in the blank. Whatever it is in your life that you know is not pleasing to God; it’s time to stop taking pleasure in it. Stop smiling into the camera and start repenting of our sins.

Prayer
Lord, some of the things that I allow in my life would not be as offensive to me as it is to you an observer. I don’t want to think of my shameful deeds as all that horrible. Help me to abandon my moral threshold and adopt yours. My righteousness is as filthy rags. I want to be clothed in yours. Amen

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