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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Casey and fear

We have a dog, a puppy really, she’s almost 6 months old and she’s huge. When she gets up on her hind legs she puts her two front paws on the garden wall and looks over it. She still has all that puppy boisterousness and is extremely busy. She also wants us to think the she is the boss. Her name is Casey which means vigilant and she lives up to her name, in that very little eludes her watchful eye. At this stage I think she’s just afraid she might miss out on something. We have to be so careful when we open the front gate because she will discern it from wherever she is and come running out of nowhere. If we don’t close the gate very quickly she pushes her way past us and then the game begin, because she’s not coming back in on her own, and she’s certainly not intending getting caught. The devil and his demons are just like Casey. If there’s even a little crack in the door they will see it and try to go inside. The door is your life and it is our responsibility to keep those doors closed. If we do something like getting angry repeatedly, we are opening a door. If we keep being fearful we could end up being a nervous wreck because that door is wide open.

2 Timothy 1:7 says: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” I know it’s easy to say it when you’re not living in fear. It’s easy to tell it to someone else when you’re not in that situation. I also do know what it feels like to fear. You will do anything and everything to avoid feeling that fear. You will lie in someone’s face if you have to. You will steal and cheat. You will do anything to avoid the fear. Then you will go on living in fear anyway. Fear of the fear, so to speak. Fearing the next situation when the fear will arise. Every time you fear, or lie or cheat or whatever it is you do, you open that door a little wider. Once the crack is big enough the enemy will slip in. Ephesians 4:27 says, “And do not give the devil a foothold.”

Just like Casey comes from out of nowhere to push her way through the gate, the devil will use force to get into that open door. He is not like the Holy Spirit, who is gentle. Ephesians 4;28 – 37 tell you what to do. If you’ve been stealing, stop, and get a job. Don’t let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only speak upbuilding words. Get rid of bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander. And verse 32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God forgave you.”

I know it didn’t mention fear but Paul is saying that we must stop doing the things which cause us trouble. When I see Casey coming towards the gate I react as fast as I can by slamming the gate closed. That’s what we should do in our lives too.

James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Shut that gate as firmly and as quickly as you can. Do not go on the path of fear anymore. I overcame my fears by facing up to myself. Yes, that’s right. Myself. I started to realize who I really am and what my true identity in Christ is. I turned away from the lies that the devil was telling me and started to embrace the truths and the promises the word gives me. I discovered that even Abraham was afraid and God said to him in Genesis 15:1, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” And that Genesis 18;14 asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” In Exodus 14:14 Moses tells the Israelites, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” This is while the Egyptians were behind  them and the Red Sea was ahead of them.

I learned that I am the head and not the tail when I choose to serve the Lord, and that I shall be blessed going out and coming in.  As I went through the bible I found more and more promises. I know now that even if things get herd, I have nothing to fear. I know that God loves me and cares for me. Two of the most powerful verses I found are the following: Isaiah 5:12 -13, “I, even I, am He ho comforts you, who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And forget your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, because of the fury of the oppressor, when he was prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?”

I recognize when I am slipping and I close the door quickly. And as for Casey? Well, she just needs more training!

Moments in time

You know that feeling when your heart just seems to swell way beyond it’s normal size just because something seem so momentous that you can’t seem to contain it in your soul.  Your emotions soar and your whole being cries out to God because He is so good and so amazing.

Acts 17:24 reads: “He is the God who made the world and everything in it.  Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples.” That is how I felt at 3:30 this morning.  I woke up and after having a drink of water looked out of the bedroom window.  The sight of the night sky was so amazing it took my breath away.  The stars were so bright and they looked to big it was just too much for me to take in.  I put on my dressing gown and left the house.  I stood in the garden and stared up at the sky.  There was a crescent moon and even though the street lights were burning they didn’t detract from the brightness of the stars.  Isaiah 40:26 says “Look up into the heavens.  Who created all the stars?  He brings them out like and army, one after another, calling each by its name.  Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”  I could feel the greatness, the immensity and the enormity of God’s power while I was watching creation.  My soul sang and my heart was full; how could anyone see this and doubt that there is a God who created it all?

night sky

My daughter took this photo of a night sky; she has given me permission to use it.

 

This afternoon I decided to water my garden because we’ve had a few days of sunshine.  Here where we live seasons are a little bit of a joke.  We live in between the summer and winter rainfall areas, and whether that is the reason or not I have no idea, but seasons are just a vague reference to the weather we actually experience.  People often say we can have four seasons in one day.  Children don’t really understand why they have to learn about spring and autumn at school because they last for about a week.  During winter it can get quite cold and we even have frost sometimes, but temperatures have been known to soar to the high 20’s – that’s Celcius.  During summer the same story.  I never even think of packing away clothes I won’t need for a season, because the chance that I will need them is very real.  Most of us have become experts at layering.

Ok, back to the point.  When I looked at the garden I realized that it has actually become a real garden.  When I started it from nothing – just bare earth – and the first seeds germinated I was so excited, but it still looked like nothing.  Now it really looks like a garden.  I felt so overwhelmed by emotion.  I’m just wondering what God felt like when He created the earth out of nothing …