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You Gotta Know When to Fold em.

A very famous Kenny Rodgers song is the song entitled The Gambler. The lyrics to the chorus are as follows 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're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' When the dealing's done.

This song, of course, is talking about poker playing and the decisions you have to make to either keep the hand you have or fold to give in to someone else with a better hand. If you don't choose to fold and try to win with the hand you have and the other player has the better hand, then you lose!

In the book of James, the writer begins Chapter 4 compelling all who are reading to draw close to God. The reverse reasoning for such a statement would be that the people he was writing to were far from God. In verse 1-3 we see the results of not being close to God. What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

Then James proceeds to "tell it like it is!" in verses 4-5. 4You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? Wow!!! James called them adulterers. Not because of the sexual side of adultery, but their hearts are adulterated. They have embraced the worldly way of thinking and they have combined it with their faith and the two just don' mix!! Basically they are "stepping out" on their Christian faith and committing spiritual adultery by hitching their wagons to worldly reasoning. How does this happen?

The first thing that happens is we stop studying God's word and then it all falls apart after that happens.

Secondly the indoctrination begins... We begin to think from a worldly perspecitve more and more to the point that it overwhelms our desire to hear from God. We have polluted our spiritual water and watered down our Biblical reasoning with relativism. Danger Will Robinson, DANGER!!! Pride kicks in at just the right time and you still believe your hand is the winning hand. Verse 10 of James 4 says 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. But, you won't listen to reason and that meeans you are already "drinking the Koolaid!"

Thirdly, you begin to defend that worldly way of thinking, trusting that the teachings and ways of living you have accepted are right. Why? Because you think you are smart. Oh my, human smarts many times aren't very smart when placed beside Godly teaching.

Lastly, you decide to play the hand you have, even though you know it is a losing hand and the crash is awful. Back to James words in verse 4 Chapter 4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God?

Just keep in mind that if you give someone enough rope they will.....You know the rest!!

Apparentyly pride has something to do with this whole action because James quotes scripture where it says “God opposes the proud. but gives grace to the humble.(Psalm 138)

Perhaps God is saying to you today "You better fold that hand because it is not a winner!" If you want to be opposed by God then keep on playing. If you want to get back in right standing and draw closer to God then humble yourself before the Living God!! Further in the chapter James writes 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Conclusion - Fold your hand and bring yourself humbly before your God and He will lift you up and set you on the right course. The world's hand may look real good to you right now but it is wrong and God will have the final say on who wins and it is not the world. You better know when to fold em, because it could corrupt the rest of your life, and permanently damage all of your relationships, beginning with the most important one, your relationship with God.

The Pilgrimage continues.....

David Warren

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