In 1996 a grain ship, “Bright Field,” was heading down the Mississippi River near New Orleans, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. The impact demolished parts of the wharf and injured 116 people. According to the Coast Guard investigation, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to repair long-standing engine problems. This is a clear example of not doing what you should do and receiving the consequences of bad decisions.

            The Devil deceived Eve into thinking that there would be no consequences for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-7). God said, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it lest ye die” (v.3) The Devil said, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) Eve dilly-dallied with the temptation and contemplated the possibilities that the Devil had suggested and threw away all restrain and ate the fruit!  Why?  The Devil deceived her into thinking that there would be no consequences for sin.

            The Devil continues to lie to us today and tells our society that a little sin won’t hurt, a little indulgence is not a problem, a little transgression will never hurt anybody! The Devil tells us that we are only human and go ahead and enjoy sin. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” ( Prov. 13:15)

            Our society believes that it can live in disobedience to God’s will by practicing homosexuality and never suffer the consequences. The scriptures teach that there will be consequences for our actions. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8) This basic principle applies to the physical world and spiritual realm as well. The word, “mocked” is a Greek word (mukterizete:) which means to turn one’s nose up at God. The point is that if a person sows to the flesh (homosexuality and sinful living) and turns up his nose at God, he shall go the way of all flesh, -- die and face the judgment of God where there will be consequences. (reap destruction – Gal. 6:8)

The scriptures emphasize the consequences of sin in other verses. Ezekiel said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ez. 18:4) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Over and over, again and again, the Bible under all circumstances, emphasizes that we reap what we sow and that sin is always followed by consequences.

            There is rebellion in the hearts and in the behavior of many people in our society today. In view of the fact that sin will always have consequences, what can we predict for the future? According to the basic law of sowing and reaping, the answer can best be given in the words of the prophet Hosea, “They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:7) There is one time of sowing (while alive), and there will be two times of reaping. We reap in this life and also reap beyond this life in the hereafter. Sin brings forth its consequences both here and hereafter.

            People may do things without realizing the consequences of their actions, but one day there is going to be an accounting! (Rev. 21:8)                                                                                                                                                                                           

Thankful for All Things - Earl Sutton

Originally published in the weekly bulletin of the church of Christ at Elkins on November 23, 2014

 I read about a family that traditionally began the evening meal with a prayer of thanks.  When they were old enough, they began letting the children say the meal prayer.  At first they would ask for a pony, a new bike, etc., but they soon learned the important things which should be included in the prayer.

            One Thanksgiving they had the whole family over.  The nine-year-old son wanted to say the prayer.  It went like this:

            "Heavenly father, we thank Thee for the turkey, the rolls, the mashed potatoes, the red juggly stuff, and the bread stuff, even though I don't like it.  We ask that You not let us choke on this food."      

            You have to admire the honesty of that little boy, and I also admire those parents who have instilled in their children an attitude of being thankful for everything.  And yet, I wonder how often we adults struggle with the same thing.  In a couple of days, those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving in this country will take time to be thankful for many things  --  our family, our food, our homes, the freedoms we enjoy in this country and many other things.

            But I wonder how many of us will include in our prayer of thanksgiving a thankfulness for the things we "don't like"  --  the sickness of the past year, the financial struggles, the people we have trouble getting along with.

            Paul said we are to be "giving thanks always for ALL things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  (Eph. 5:20)  Christians need to thank God in their prayers for all the blessings that we enjoy, because all these blessings come from God.

            The BIBLE says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from God." (James 1:17)  That includes the various trials we face that will help strengthen us to grow spiritually (James 1:2).

                                                                        ----  Earl Sutton