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A List of Consequences

Newton’s third law of motion states:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

He was, of course talking about physics and forces; the push-pull concept. What goes up must come down.

summer 2

When humans are involved the reaction is not always equal. Sometimes we feel the consequence for action is too severe. Other times our reaction to the actions of someone else is extreme. When emotions get involved our instantaneous  reactions can be so severe we wish we could take them back. We even find consequences to our reactions!

However, consequences are not always bad.

In the gospels we find a list of consequences in what we know as the Sermon on the Mount:

1. When we are poor in spirit,
   we gain the kingdom of heaven.

As we become more interested in holiness – in what the Holy Spirit desires for us we will be rewarded with eternity in God’s perfect Heaven.

2. When we mourn,
   we will be comforted.

God’s heart breaks for us when we mourn. Not only when bad things happen in our lives, but when we mourn over our wrong attitudes and actions, or when we mourn for others’ misfortune and a world that doesn’t know the love of God. He will comfort us and strengthen us to go on and shows us how we can make a difference in our world.

 3. When we are meek,
    we will inherit the earth.

Our society would have us believe that the strongest and most forceful people are the most influential and will go the farthest in this world. That is the opposite of God’s plan. As we follow Jesus’ example of being meek and putting the needs of others ahead of our own desires we will gain influence that money can’t buy not only in God’s kingdom but here on earth as well.

 4. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   we will be filled.

It is the desire of God’s heart for us to be like Him. When we desire honesty, integrity and goodness we will be filled with blessings beyond measure. As it says in Luke 6:38:

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

5. When we are merciful,
    we will be shown mercy.

Our human tendencies are to treat others the way we are treated – to do unto others the way they do to us. But God’s kingdom is the opposite of this. Matthew 7:12 tells us:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…

Showing mercy, not retaliation is God’s desire for us. As we show mercy to others we will be shown mercy and goodness in return.

6. When we are pure in heart,
   we will see God.

Ah to be pure in heart all the time. I long to never think the wrong think or act or speak badly towards anyone. While that is my desire sin gets in the way. But when the desire of our hearts is to be pure and when we come before the Lord with confession, repentance and crave His will in our lives we will see all that He has for us and will be rewarded with a glimpse of His kingdom.

7. When we act as peacemakers,
    we will be called children of God.

Holding our tongues, allowing someone else to have their way, being the neutral buffer in the middle of a disagreement – all of these things help keep the peace. People will notice when we are peaceful in the middle of a tumultuous world and ask us about our actions. Then we can point others to God, our Father and perhaps see them become children of God as well.

8. When we are persecuted because of righteousness,
    we are given the kingdom of heaven.

No one likes to be made fun of for being different. When we act righteous in a world where people revel in sinful ways we most likely will be. In extreme cases persecution may even lead to death. We may not see the reward for living right here on earth but one day will be given the reward of the kingdom of Heaven.

This is a tall order, a list we cannot achieve on our own. But through the Spirit of God and His power we will see glimpses of perfection and the consequences will always be positive!

Blessings and peace to you,
Paula

 

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Truth or…

There was a game show on TV when I was young named “Truth or Consequences”. The premise of the show was that contestants had to answer a question (usually trivia that no one would really know) or face the consequence, which was some embarrassing and entertaining stunt. Many episodes had people reunited with friends or family they had not seen in years.

 

I got to thinking about this show when I saw a quote the other day.

Between Ears

How much of what goes on in our brains is ramblings about ourselves and others that are not grounded in truth?

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.        
                                                                   2 Corinthians 10:5

 

Scripture tells us to take EVERY thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. This verse can certainly be applied to our sinfulness and thoughts that are not pleasing to God. We can also take it a step further and realize that our thoughts should always be based in truth.

 

For example, while getting dressed in the morning I often take a look in the full-length mirror and immediately see things about my body that I don’t like. There is nothing wrong with the observation, it’s what I do with it that makes a difference in the rest of my day, and what I do about what I don’t like.

 

If I force myself to concentrate on the truth about my body I will remember that Psalm 139 tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that God’s works are wonderful. (v. 14) Therefore the truth is that while my body isn’t all that God (or I) desire it to be it is healthy and created by a wonderful God. I have the use of all 5 senses and the ability to fully use my arms and legs. There is also truth for me that I have not been obedient in keeping my body healthy and I have a responsibility to change that. BUT that does not make me any less valuable to God or in society.

 

Another area where I struggle with keeping the truth in my brain is when I don’t think I meet up to expectations. I begin to talk down to myself because I didn’t complete a task well enough or I perceive I have let someone down. This is an area that can bring on a downward spiral so quickly and the enemy looks forward to it.

 

It is important to recognize the truth in a situation like this and consider how my emotions are perhaps a part of the situation. Some questions I am learning to ask myself are:

1. Did I set my expectations of myself too high?
Most of the time I expect perfection of myself, or set my goals at a level that is realistic for someone else but not necessarily for me. If the truth is that the expectations were realistic I need to examine what I should have done differently, face up to any consequences and forgive myself, moving forward instead of staying stuck in beating myself up.

2. Did I truly let someone down or were there perceptions of my performance different from my own?
It can be so easy to think you know what someone expects from you without knowing the truth. I find that many times someone else is pleased with the job I did when I can only see how I could have done it better. Knowing the truth of expectations and perceptions can keep relationships healthy and our thoughts in check.

3. What does scripture say about this situation?
Whatever we do and think should always come back to the truth of scripture. If we aren’t sure of God’s expectations we should search scripture to find the truth. Sometimes a trusted friend or adviser can give us insight we can’t find for ourselves.

 

If I had to choose one scripture as the key to keeping the space between our ears healthy it would be this one:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

My heart’s desire is to not only hide this scripture in my heart but to learn it well enough that it is on the tip of my tongue and forefront in my mind as the enemy tries to lie to me and get inside my head.

I’m praying for you today that the truth would be in your mind and heart and that God’s truth would set you free today!

 

Blessings & Peace to you!
Paula