Know When To Hold Em – Know When To Fold Em

                      “Know When To Hold Em – Know When To Fold Em!”

Proverbs 22:24-25
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”

It was the summer of 1978 when Country Western singer Kenny Rogers’ album The Gambler soared to the top of country and pop charts. The song itself was about a warm summers evening on a train “bound to nowhere”. Rogers met an unamed old man that was a gambler. The old man apparently had wisdom gained throughout the years that allowed him to look into Rogers eyes and see that he was down on his luck. The gambler offered Rogers seasoned advice for his last swallow of whiskey. He took the shot down, lit a cigarette and began to speak: “You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, Know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you are sitting at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin when the dealing is done.” The gambler then shared that his secret to survival was knowing what to throw away and what to keep.

It would be outrageous, even supercilious, to limit God’s teachable moments to music that we hear in church. God can baptize the lips of a Country Western singer with a simple story line about a Gambler on a train bound to nowhere to convey biblical truths. The man on the train was a wise gambler bound to nowhere but the man in the text was a wise king whose words live on into eternity.

Solomon gives us wise advice on how to avoid friendship trains that are bound to nowhere. The truth is, many of us nurture and invest in relationships that have no virtue, no vision or no victory. Listen to Solomon’s words: “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” As we take a real look at our relationships there are 3 things to consider:

  1. Consider The Description of Caution: What relationships do you nurture with persons who are angry about life? Solomon described a person who is angry and furious. The word for “angry” is the Hebrew word “ap” and it means short-tempered. The Hebrew word for furious is “hema” and it describes a person who is constantly in a state of anger. Solomon says avoid them! They flare up at the drop of a dime so don’t take a walk with them, don’t do business with them, don’t go on vacation with them, don’t visit them, don’t seek their company or court their conversation, and for Christ’s sake don’t seek their advice! Wow! Harsh advice. Why Solomon?
  2. Consider The Devastating Corruption: Lest thou learn his ways:” If you continue this relationship it will corrupt you! Those whom we go with we are apt to grow like. Paul said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” What is the conclusion?
  3. Consider The Dangerous Conclusion: and get a snare to thy soul.” A snare metaphorically is something that allures one from his real purpose and then destroys him. Our souls are valuable to God and our relationships should strengthen the soul. Philia Ophelema Psukis are Greek words meaning, “Friendship is essential to the soul.” The wrong relationships can be detrimental to your soul and divert you from your destiny and place you on a friendship train bound to nowhere!

         Here it is! There is no human relationship worth sacrificing your soul and spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. When one accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, they establish the most important relationship their soul will ever know. What a friend we have in Jesus! At the end of the day, we must give careful consideration to the relationships that we nurture and make investments. We must be led by the Spirit of God as to what role we should play in our relationships with others and what role others play in their relationship with us. Friends, there are some relationships that come to last and others that come to pass. So, love hard! Laugh often! Live wisely in your relationships! Know when to hold em, and know when to fold em! Don’t get caught on a friendship train bound to nowhere!

On The Train Bound To Glory!

 Know when to hold em

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s A Snake In Your Garden

“THERE’S A SNAKE IN YOUR GARDEN”

Genesis 3:1-9

Iron Eyes Cody was the Native American who appeared in the old Keep America Beautiful TV commercials. He told an Indian legend from many years ago. Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One youth hiked into a beautiful valley with green trees & bright flowers. He saw the surrounding mountain and decided to test himself against that mountain. When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world. He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride. Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke. “I am about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing. There is no food, and I am starving. Please, put me under your shirt and take me down into the valley.” “No,” said the youth. “I know better. You are a rattlesnake and if I pick you up, you will bite and kill me.” “Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me I will not harm you.” The youth resisted for a while, but this was a very persuasive snake, with beautiful markings. At last the youth took pity on the reptile, picked it up, tucked it under his shirt, and carried it down into the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and struck—biting him on the leg. “But you promised!” cried the youth. “You knew what I was when you picked me up” said the snake as he slithered away.

The truth is, we often allow people access into our lives that we know mean us no good but they promise like the snake, “I will treat you differently.” They say the right things, appear to be harmless, and you fall for the “okey doke”. The next thing you know, you have bought in to their low lifestyle and your once close relationship with God seems like a distant memory. You don’t pray anymore, you don’t go to church quite as often, your commitment to God and His church is fledgling at best. The trick part is, once they get what they want they turn on you. These people are seductive in their serpentine ways to strategically separate you from God. This has been Satan’s mission since the beginning of time. He seeks to bring chaos and confusion and chasms to God’s children that result in shame and separation from God!

The book of Genesis gives the first account of how Satan ruined a relationship with God. The biblical account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is a clinical case study on why we should protect ourselves from relationships that separate us from God. Adam and Eve had everything they wanted and needed until they allowed a snake to charm them into doing what God instructed them not to do. As a consequence, they ended up shamed by sin and separated from God all because they listened to a snake in their garden.

What do you do when confronted by a snake?

1. Don’t Listen To His Lies: Jesus told the Pharisees one day in John 8:44 – “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

2. Don’t Look In His Direction: Paul said in his letter to the church of Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 – “ Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

3. Don’t Long For What He Offers: James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

4. Don’t Linger In His Presence: 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
The bottom line is never trust a snake!!! At the end of the day, you can’t walk with God and hold hands with the devil!

Because of Him,

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

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