March 19 – Tap Out

Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. Proverbs 31:3 NIV

The term Mixed Martial Arts did not exist 25 years ago. But today, many around the world know those words to mean a skilled fighter in a varied assortment of ancient fighting disciplines.

And now days, there are sporting venues that pay guys and gals “skilled” in MMA big time dollars to showcase their talent. With the rise of the MMA movement, the words “tap out” have become infamous.

Stay with me, I’m going somewhere! “Tap out” is what a fighter is persuaded to do when they find themselves in a submission hold. Many times, their refusal to “tap out” could lead to them being rendered unconscious or severely injured. Sounds barbaric?

Here’s a thought instigated by a king’s mother striving to prepare him for the challenges he would face that might prove fatal: Don’t dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders (MSG). So, in other words, tap outs have been around a very long time.

And don’t think for a minute it’s a one-sided affair. Just because this advice was to a son, many beautiful daughters’ hopes and dreams have been severely altered by a teenage tap out event.

Wisdom is wisdom. And no matter our age, these words still resonate. May the temptation of momentary pleasure not put an unsuspecting choke-hold on our otherwise fruitful lives and render us unconscious or tapped out!

February 10 – Hit-lure

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2

Today’s proverbial thought awakens a moment in history that will affect the world as we know it forever. Leaders come and go and the truly good ones rule well and are often taken for granted because they raise few red flag warnings. They do the job entrusted them with honor and integrity.

But like the truck my son recently found on Craigslist that was “too good to be true,” there are moments in time where “too good to be true” leaders have emerged with vigor. And after the smoke cleared, there was hardly anything left but ashes.

There are several case studies to choose from, but Adolf Hitler is a classic. A decorated soldier in World War I, in many ways, he appeared to have the zeal, passion and vision to make Germany great. But something on the inside was a bit twisted.

His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the denunciation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories that were home to millions of ethnic Germans – actions which gave him significant popular support (courtesy of Wikipedia).

When a people are suffering, particularly in the area of finances, they seem to be more vulnerable of this lure by cunning ideology and “quick fix” phantoms.

Hitler’s Nazi Party became the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, leading to his appointment as chancellor in 1933. Following fresh elections won by his coalition, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Any institution of merit has foundation stones. And most of the time, those stones have been well thought out, inspired and strategically placed. Caution should be strongly applied when those views and values become disregarded and or disrespected by a new set of ideas. Change is normal and necessary, but it is far better when it is an outgrowth of that which has already been.

Case in point: God never threw away the Israeli people as His chosen. He just gave birth to the Church age through them by sending Christ as a Jew. Though the “religions” stand alone and individual, the spiritual DNA of both are founded on the same stone.

Under Hitler’s leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed racially inferior. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war (courtesy of Wikipedia).

There was a lot of death, destruction and mayhem before the people recognized the hidden agenda. Some never did. They were so indoctrinated, the deception became their reality.

Put today’s proverb in a prominent place so it penetrates your subconscious thoughts.

And from that place…pray for those who would dare lead us.

January 22 – Winter is Just a Season

For riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. Proverbs 27:24

Early last year year, the sand plums were thick. Four years ago, when we moved to the farm, they were everywhere. We picked a few and canned a bit.

But the following years, if you weren’t diligent enough to put up plenty, there was no way you had homemade jelly to last until the next bumper crop.

We as a society are smart and we have figured out ways to override natural order and supply and demand. But, for the listening soul, seasonal abundance is still ever present to instruct.

“Bomb, bam, bang” can’t maintain forever. Winter must come. Fall lets us know times are changing so we can prepare.

True, after winter comes spring, but how long winter lasts has everything to do with…how long winter will last.

November 12 – But I’m Not Ready to Die

There is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death. Proverbs 16:25 AMP

I’ve told this account many times over the years. When I was in my twenties and pushing really hard to make a way for myself, opportunities were numerous for a go-getter and I was out to get my share.

I was working a couple of jobs and keeping a steady one to make sure I covered my basic bills…a career type of job.

One night while chasing my “dream,” I fell asleep and found myself in a median with a car full of grass (I had the windows down). God only knows how many close calls I might have had before I finally came to myself. I surely wasn’t ready to die, but the thing I was pursuing was just about to do me in.

We all can be guilty of living in such a way that we don’t even think about tomorrow or the possible “irrevocable” effects of our self-centered notions. Often, we convince ourselves that what we want is what is best. But when we find ourselves asleep behind the wheel of life’s true necessities…then we cry out with the utmost abandonment, “God, help!”

Don’t assume you are headed in the right direction, just because it makes sense to you. Slow down and ask the Father. And no matter what He tells you…it will keep you safe until your race is done.

October 31 – The Old Root Cellar

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.  Proverbs 15:4

We have a wonderful old cellar here on the farm.  I love the damp smell of historic moments that seeps through the cement walls.  I wonder exactly how my grandpa built it and wish I could ask grandma how she was able to fill it full of canned goods every summer.

You can see on the outside a tiny window as you stand on the first step past the cellar door.  My dad recalled watching my grandpa looking out that window during a vicious thunderstorm. As a little boy, dad said he would never forget the tears rolling down grandpa’s face.  He was watching the storm tear his wheat crop to shreds before his very eyes.  I know that moment must have made a deep impression on my dad because he still remembers it to this day.

I’ve had them, and you’ve had them.  Life-altering moments when we think no one sees or understands.  Back more than fifty years ago, with no other provision for his family in sight, I know grandpa must have been feeling like that.

But God knows.  Regardless of our feelings and in spite of gut-wrenching circumstances, He will never leave or forsake us.  Nothing and no one can pluck us out of His hand.  And our belief in His goodness and mercy makes His presence during tragedy even more real.

The cellar is still here.  Still holding me and my family warmly and safely through the worst of storms.  And God still sees, and He still knows.

Jennifer 🙂