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!

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September 26 – Erasing the Scarlet Letter

Proverbs 7:4,5 MSG

Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
 Treat Insight as your companion.
 They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—
that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.

As long as time has been, the grass has had a tendency to look greener on the other side of the fence. It’s “human nature,” as Michael Jackson once sang, but still, NOT okay. If you’re wondering if our present national divorce rate and number of wandering spouses is something new, check out the Old Testament and look for David, Solomon, and Gomer (more about her later.)

Even though Solomon had hundreds of wives and concubines, he still was obviously inspired to write these scriptures warning against the “seductress.” (Check out all of Proverbs 7 for a clearer picture.)

And this is refreshingly encouraging! Since we can easily identify with making mistakes, sometimes very serious ones, it is so sweet to know God still loves us and cheers for us . . . much as He did for King David of old.

No, this is not to say that the consequences won’t be severe. But as we’ve been seeing this past week in Proverbs, God hates a gossiper or a haughty look just as much as a murderer (Proverbs 6:16).

Hang on, I’m going somewhere here.

Look at the following verses in Proverbs 7:

Proverbs 7:19, 20 KJV For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.

After we are heavily implored to stay away from the “harlot,” verse 19 and 20 says the goodman is away from home on a journey and he will come at an exact and special time. Hmmm. My thought is that the “goodman” represents Jesus. And the rest of this chapter’s instructions about the harlot are for everyone, no matter what the distraction might be.

As with Gomer (the consistent adulteress married to Hosea – their story is the book of Hosea), God’s message is abundantly clear: WE are the adulteress. WE are the unfaithful. But HE is faithful, and unconditionally forgiving!

Yes, Jesus the Good Man is returning. And the distraction level is at an all-time high. So no matter the sin or level of depravity, He is willing and able to erase it all and restore us.

And just as importantly, it’s the time to offer mercy and forgiveness to those around us who are knee-deep in the distractions.

Because, but for the grace of God, there go I.

Jennifer 🙂