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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

Devotional for June 24

While enrolled at Johnson Bible College near Knoxville, Tennessee, I developed a friendship with a young man from Young High School who liked to box and thought I might enjoy it also. He took me to meet his trainer, an ex-boxer who never made it out of the club circuit. The trainer checked my hand speed, overall strength and asked me if I would like to train. I tried it and liked it.

I trained hard. I ran incessantly and lifted what weights the gym had as well as those at Johnson. I watched as my body redefined itself. I trimmed down to a svelt 195 pounds. I had been sparring and working the heavy bag and speed bag as well as the elastic bag and felt I was ready for live contact. I finally got my chance. I had my first fight, a two rounder, against a guy who had never fought before either.

Lou Holtz once said in an interview, "Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it." All the training in the world cannot prepare a boxer for the first time he is hit by someone who means it. About a minute and a half into the first round I got hit hard. I left myself open for a left hook and absolutely got nailed. I staggered and went down on one knee. I remember thinking to myself that this guy packs a real wallop. That's when it hit me. It's not about how hard a guy punches, it's how hard I think he punches that counts.

As I regained my feet and got my gloves cleared by the referee I decided it was time for this guy to find out I can hit pretty hard also. I started remembering my sparring techniques. A minute into the second round I had him pretty confident that he could take me. He let his guard slip for just one moment and I slid a hard straight right hand right into the middle of his face. Now he had something to think about. He had just taken his first hit.

Life is full of ups and downs and many of us think we have a pretty frim grip on its harsh realities. We have made it through the maze of "trials" and endured them. Then it happens; a loved one dies, a wife miscarries the first child, you're diagnosed with cancer, your home burns to the ground. Now your faith must kick in. How will you react?

"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 The canvas can be a safe place in a fight. You can stay there and never be hit again. But you lose. Only in the fight is there victory. Stand firm in your faith and conquer with the life of the Lord Jesus.

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'Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life' Copyright 2010 © Tom Kelley. 'Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life' articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each story, along with their complete bio and a link to  2) 'Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life' content may not be arranged or "mirrored" as a competitive online service.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 24th, 2017
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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