Consequences

My husband and I were speaking to a young lady this morning about the consequences of drinking and gambling. Her opinion was that people are way too judgemental and that she should be left alone to do as she pleases. I have been thinking about events in the Bible and how everything that God told people to do had consequences. Every act is part of a bigger picture, but we don’t always see that picture. Everything has repercussions and does not only touch the person who makes the decision.
Just imagine if Moses had ignored God when He told him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. Moses really didn’t want to do it and tried very hard to get out of it.
Exodus 3:11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Verse 13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
Exodus 4:1 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”
Verse 10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since You have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and tongue.”
And when none of those arguments phased God, Moses says in verse 13, “Oh my Lord, please send someone else.”
The consequences of Moses not going would have been far reaching. I’m sure God had a plan B if Moses did refuse, but just think of the consequences for Moses. If he saw someone else leading his people out of Egypt, can you think how he would have felt? And even though Moses had a very tough time in the desert, he was so close to God. He had the kind of relationship with the Lord that every Christian should desire. He spoke to God face to face, he even argued his people’s case so effectively that God changed His mind and didn’t destroy them all.
God called Jeremiah as a prophet and in chapter 1:6 he says, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
God answers him, Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’ for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
We have all done things without thinking about the consequences. Sometimes we are desperate and we believe we don’t have a choice in what we do. Other times we simply don’t think. What would you say if God told you to leave your family and friends, your job, your country, your comfort zone and go to a primitive country that you’ve only vaguely heard the name of? You don’t even know where it is on the map. Would God do something like that? Surely not, because you’ve prayed and asked Him to provide you with a stable income and a caring spouse and all the things the world holds dear. That’s what God told Abraham to do. Or what if God told you to do something totally ridiculous that doesn’t make sense at all and you know that everyone is going to ridicule you. Well, God told Noah to build and ark. He wasn’t anywhere near water and it had never rained, thus nobody knew what a flood was. What about Hosea? God told him to marry a prostitute. And look at Isaiah 20:3 Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush…”
Ezekiel 4:4 “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment on the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you shall lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year.”
Does God tell us to do ridiculous things? Yes, I think so. But everything He tells us is for a purpose. Just like every action we take has consequences, we should learn to think about those consequences before we act.

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You’re a good good Father

Today was extremely difficult and trying. There were multiple issues, some out of my control and others caused indirectly by me! We sometimes make mistakes. We wilfully do things that are going to have bad consequences. Even while we do them we know the consequences aren’t going to be good, but we still do them. Maybe we wish nothing is going to happen, but these things usually catch up with us. So I am a Christian and I have done something wrong. Am I going to get punished by God? Am I going to miss out on Heaven? No not at all. Ephesians 2:8 – 9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of work, lest anyone should boast.” Good works cannot save us and neither can bad works condemn us. If I am a Christian then I know when I’ve done something I shouldn’t. I know when the Holy Spirit nudges me and says, ‘you shouldn’t have made that decision,” or, “Seriously, Alex, Is that your idea of being righteous?” Do I feel guilty if I do something wrong? Yes!! But if I’m wise only for long enough to repent and to apologize to God. I really don’t want God to be displeased with me. I want to have that intimate relationship with Him. John 1 :13 – 14, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, not of the will of man, but of God.”

So, if god is our Father, like it says multiple times in the bible, is He suddenly going to stop being our father because we do something He didn’t want us to do? If your child breaks the neighbour child’s toys, you are going to be very displeased with him, and you will carry out some kind of punishment so that he can learn a lesson.  Will he still be your child? Will you still be his parent? Yes, of course! God doesn’t stop being our Father because we messed up. He might not be very pleased with our behaviour, but He certainly won’t stop being our Father.  Galatians 4:6-7, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Clearly we are God’s children, not foster children, or servants, we are His legitimate children. Ephesians 1:4 – 5, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him is love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” Isn’t that just wonderful? Adopted children are just as legally someone’s children as children are by birth.

Okay, we’ve established that we aren’t going to be rejected because we did something dumb. Is God going to punish us? I don’t think so; Jesus already took everything on Himself on the cross. We will have to face the consequences of our irresponsibility though. We are still God’s children and He is still our Father.  Once we have asked Him to forgive us – not because we are going to lose our salvation, but so that we can restore our relationship – so that He will be pleased with us. Psalm 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in love.” Psalm 86:5, “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You,” We should not waste time on the process of getting back into our intimate place with God. If we are going through hours and days of feeling guilty, just remember guilt comes from the enemy, not from God. The devil wants us to believe that we aren’t good enough and that God is rejecting us.

Chris Tomlin sings, “You’re a good, good Father, it’s who you are, And I’m loved by You. It’s who I am. God loves us and we are loved by Him. Don’t forget that!

Unconditional

When we took a trip to make deliveries to a neighbouring town, we stopped in at a shop owned by people who always come and say hello when they’re in our area.  The couple recently became parents for the first time.  I enquired about the baby as I hadn’t seen her yet.  Her father indicated that she was sleeping behind the counter.  Because I just can’t resist babies I went behind that counter and there she was fast asleep on a little mattress on the floor covered by a big fluffy blanket.  I touched her hand and she woke up.  My first thought was that because I had startled her she would start crying.  Well, wasn’t that what I would do if I was woken up and a stranger was staring down at me?  She opened her huge brown eyes, looked at me and gave me the most beautiful smile!  I was so amazed.  And she continued to smile.

It was such a humbling experience.  I was just so filled with love at that moment.  This little person who is only four months old didn’t ask any questions.  She didn’t mind what political party I voted for; she didn’t care what my skin colour was; she didn’t  mind what religion I claimed to follow;  she didn’t try to ascertain whether I was straight or gay;  my bank balance and the friends I hang out with wasn’t her problem.  She saw a fellow human being and she smiled.  How many of us can do that?  Which of us can unconditionally hand out smiles and expect nothing in return?  Are we capable of taking people at face value – maybe even something beyond face value, because if your face is scared and your clothes are ragged you would be considered “different”.  I learned a great big lesson from a four month old infant.

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Delicious cauliflower fritters

 

Let me share a recipe I made the other night.  I used a food processor to chop 1 small head of cauliflower into grains (cauliflower rice), I added some fried  rashers of bacon and onion, and three eggs and mixed it all together.  Next I added tapioca flour to make a stiff mixture and flavoured with parsley, salt and pepper.  Drop spoons full into a deep fryer and fry till golden brown.  Crisp and delicious!  I think next time I’ll add some fried mushrooms as well.

Everything we do is based on decisions.  Sometimes we make the decisions, and sometimes other people do.  Every action has a reaction or a consequence. My decision for this week is to see people in a different light.  To try to see them without prejudice and without any preconceived ideas.  I will try to be like that baby and smile.