Friday, 17 April 2020

Proverbs 17.14

The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
(ESV)

The beginning of strife is as when water first trickles [from a crack in a dam]; therefore, stop contention before it becomes worse and quarrelling breaks out. (AMPC)

Two days ago, Rosie and I give thanks to God for His mercies and grace that enable us to celebrate our 48th Wedding Anniversary. As we reflect on what kept us going all these years. There are countless things we can give thanks to God. Unless the Lord build our marriage, we labour in vain. We too have to do our part in the building up of our marriage. There are many but I just touch on one.

This brings me to the text of the day. “The start of an argument is like the first break in a dam; stop it before it goes any further.” (GNT) It is easier to put off a match stick fire than to put out a forest fire. Stop it before it goes out of hand. Better still don’t even start it – Strive, contention, arguing, disputes, discord or quarrel!!!

The word “strife” or “contention”, occurs some 15 times in Proverbs to describe the kind of person who is apt to cause an argument or a conflict, one who is predisposed to quarrelling or dispute. Strive is like driving a wedge between two persons or two parties.

We are painfully aware that arguments DO occur. We have all been engaged in them repeatedly. We are sinners. It’s a given that all of us will sometime be involved in strife and conflict with different degree and in different settings. Disputes happen in our home, in our church, among our friends, in the school, in the workplace, in politics.

Solomon observes that all disputes and strive has a beginning. There is a point in time when the strife begins. The funny or sad thing is that in a family fight there is a starting point but no finishing line. While reading this, some of our fights is still raging on with no sight of the end.

Solomon is a master teacher. He uses an analogy to help us see every argument or dispute can be traced back to its beginning. It is like a tiny hole in the wall of a dam. It started with a trickle of water but it gets bigger and bigger. It is like “letting out water.” It is like the emptying of one’s bladder. The point is once it begins to flow, it can be impossible to stop. Watch out for the little crack in your relationship, if you are careless and allow anger, envy, hatred and unforgiveness to flow, before long it will collapse the wall of your marriage. Water is very powerful and destructive. Arguments and strife can ruin a home, a business, friendship and even the local church. Stop the leak!!!

“Therefore” is the beginning of the second part of this verse. Solomon gives us additional advice. Continuing the analogy, water starts to flow and strife, contention, argument continue to rage, he admonishes, “Don’t let it start!”
Where is the little crack in our dam? It is easier to do something about it. We can mend it back with love and forgiveness. By doing so you will prevent the bursting of the dam and causing untold pain and destruction. If you don’t stop it right away, it will get bigger and bigger and more and more powerful. Finally, there will be no stopping it.

“Stop” in the original context it means to leave; forsake; cast off; reject, abandon or quit. In our “kiasu” culture, to be a man is to show that we are strong and powerful. We don’t want to be a loser. We will stand our ground. We demand our way or no way. We become hard and obstinate. Don’t let that first trickle of a fight to begin. Drop the issue before the contention begins. Regardless as to who is to be blamed for starting the first spark of contention, let’s be quick to forgive or to say, “I’m sorry” before irreparable harm is done.

Prayer for the day

Lord, I thank you for preserving our marriage for these last 48 years. Lord, you are our God for all seasons of our lives. You have seen us through it all. We are ever grateful for your unfailing love, your forgiveness, your gracious leading, your unending supply for all our needs, you have given us a purpose to live for.
Lord, our hearts are still burdened for little Adriel. You have given us Adriel to love and to cherish him. We know you have your wonderful plan for him and his parents, Jun Yung and Siew Hup. We know you will do all things so that your name be glorified. Grant us faith to trust when we don’t see the way ahead. For we know you never make a mistake. We want to thank and praise you because you are a trustworthy God. We cast all our burdens and cares upon you for you care for us.
Oh, God, we pray for each of our relationship with you. Teach us to be totally dependent on you. The pressure and stress of this prolong Coronavirus is getting on to us. With all these immense stress on us, it often wears us out. We feel we are no more in control and we are frightened of tomorrow. O Lord, we need you daily to stand by us and give us the courage to shoulder on.

Lord, protect our relationship at home, in the church, in the workplace and in the world. Often time under great stress, we lose control of ourselves. We let strife and argument flare-up. Lord, give us the wisdom to put out the match fire and not allow it to be a forest fire. Help us deflect anger with gentle words. May our words be a tree of life. May our words bring healing. May we practice the words of Jesus, “Do for others what you would like them to do for you.” Matt. 7.12

Lord, have mercy on us. We bring this pandemic of the Coronavirus to you. This fire has gone out of control. Lord, create a holy fear in mankind, cause us to come with humility and a contrite heart to seek your forgiveness for we have rebelled against you. We have turned our back on you. We have just been disobedient to you. Lord, forgive us and bring us back to you. Only in you, there is forgiveness and hope. There is no other name that we can call on and be saved, besides the Name of Jesus. As you children may we be your ambassadors of your love, joy, peace and hope in these trouble times.

Lord, we submit to you. We surrender our all to you. Lord, come and lead and guide us through this day as we wait upon you. We praise and thank you in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Pastor Isaac Yim

xxx

每日灵粮
17/4/20
作者:严以撒牧师
箴言 17:14

「纷争的起头如水放开,所以在争闹之先,必当止息争竞。」

感谢上帝的怜悯和恩典,两天前,我和Rosie能够庆祝我们第四十八周年的结婚纪念日。当我们在回想我们为什么能够走到此时此刻,我们就有数不清的事情要感谢上帝。我们的婚姻若少了神,那我们将徒劳无功。我们当然也必须在建立婚姻中尽起自己的本分。的確是有很多方面,但我只会谈一件。

这把我带到了今天的经文。 “纷争的起头如水放开,所以在争闹之先,必当止息争竞。”要扑灭火柴的火比要扑灭森林的大火来的更加容易。在它失控之前就要将它停止。最好甚至不要开始- 冲突,争论,争执,不和或争吵!!!

在箴言中,“冲突”或“争执”出现了约15次,用以描述那种容易引起争执或冲突的人,倾向于争吵或争执的人。“冲突”或“争执”就像在两个人之间挑拨离间。我们知道争执是难免的。我们所有人都曾经与别人有过争执。我们都是罪人。我们所有人有时都会以不同的程度或在不同的环境下与别人发生冲突。在我们的家中,在教会中,在我们的朋友当中,在学校中,在工作场所中,在政治里都有可能发生争执。

所罗门指出,所有争执和冲突都是有开端的。在某一刻,争执和冲突就好像突然开始了。很可悲的是,在家庭的争执中虽有一个起点,但却没有终点。在阅读这经节时,可能我们正处在某种争执,看不到结局。

所罗门是一位出色的老师。他用一个比喻好让我们能够看到每一个争执或冲突都可以追溯到它的启发点。它就像水坝壁上的一个小洞。它从一滴水开始,但是会变得越来越大。就好比“把水放了”。这也有点像排空膀胱。关键是水一旦开始流出,就有可能停不下来。请注意你的婚姻关系中的小裂痕,如果一不下心,让愤怒,嫉妒,仇恨和不饶恕持续下去,不久后它就会使你婚姻破裂。水非常强大且具有破坏性。争执和冲突会毁坏家庭,生意,友谊,甚至毁坏当地的教会。要阻止泄漏!!!

“所以”是本节第二部分的开始。所罗门给了我们其他建议。继续刚才的比喻,水开始泛滥,争执,冲突继续盛行,他告诫:“别让它开始!”大坝的小裂缝在哪里?对症下药比较容易。我们可以用爱和宽恕来弥补它。这样做可以防止水坝爆裂而造的痛苦和破坏。如果你不立即阻止它,它将变得越来越强大。最后,它将会停不了。

在原文中,“止息”表示离开,摆脱,拒绝,放弃或退出。在这“输不起”的文化中,很多人都想证明自己的强大和能力。我们不想成为失败者。我们会坚定不移。我们要求自己做主或根本不采取行动。我们变得很固执。不要让争执和冲突开始。在争执和冲突开始之前,删除该问题。不管是谁先开始的争执和冲突,在造成无法弥补的伤害之前,让我们迅速地饶恕或说“对不起”。

今天的祷告

上帝,感谢你在过去的48年中维护了我们的婚姻。主啊,你是我们生命中所有季节的上帝。你伴随着我们经过重重阻碍。我们感谢你坚定不移的爱,你的宽恕,你满有恩典的领导,你无止尽地满足我们的需要,以及你给了我们生命目标。

主啊,我们的心仍担忧Adriel。你给了我们Adriel来爱护和珍惜他。我们知道你对他和他的父母Jun Yung和Siew Hup有一个美丽的计划。我们知道你所做的都是为要荣耀你的名。当我们看不到前进的道路时,请赐给我们信心。因为我们知道你永远不会犯错。我们要感谢和赞美你,因为你是一位信实的上帝。我们将所有的负担都交拖给你,因为你爱我们。

哦,主啊,我们为我们与你的关系祷告。教导我们完全信靠你。这新冠病毒带来的压力正在逐渐加剧。这些巨大的压力使我们感到疲惫不堪。我们已无法掌管许多事,我们也对明天感到恐惧。上帝啊,我们需要你与我们同在,并给我们勇气继续前进。

主啊,求你保护我们在家庭、教堂、工作场所和世界上的关系。通常,在巨大的压力下,我们会失去了自我。我们让争执和冲突变得更加激烈。主啊,给我们智慧熄灭火柴,不要让它成为森林大火。帮助我们用温柔的言语来转移愤怒。愿我们的话成为生命之树。愿我们的言语带来疗伤。愿我们实践耶稣的话:“你们愿意人怎样对待你们,你们也要怎样对待人。”

主啊,怜悯我们。我们将这新冠病毒交托给你。这场大火已经失控了。主啊,求你使世人敬畏你,使我们以谦卑的态度来寻求你的宽恕,因为我们得罪了你。我们也拒绝了你。我们不听你的话。主啊,请原谅我们,并将我们归回向你。只有在你里面有宽恕和盼望。除了耶稣的名,我们没有其它的名可以呼求。作为你的孩子,但愿在这困难的时期,我们将成为你爱、喜乐、和平与盼望的大使。

主啊,我们服从你。我们降服与你。主啊,我们等候你,求你今天引导、带领我们。我们奉耶稣的名祷告。阿们!

胡斐译

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