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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Little Things—Big Consequences

"Catch the foxes for us,
The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards,
While our vineyards are in blossom."1

Not too long ago we had the opportunity to have a vacation in Hawaii where, of course, there are many beautiful beaches. At one particular picturesque beach where the grandkids were snorkeling, close by was a rocky section. Here was a warning sign painted with large bold red lettering that simply said, "Dangerous beach. When in doubt, don't."

All too often in similar situations some daredevils tempt fate and alas, too late, they realize that they made a drastic mistake and have been hurt badly or even lost their life.

"When in doubt, don't" is a handy motto to apply to every area of life—especially so in the area of relationships, morals and ethics.

Many a person has started on a downward path in an extremely small way saying to him/herself, "A little lie won't hurt; a little cheating won't be noticed; a little immoral slip isn't going to make any difference; one cigarette won't affect me; and one drug is meaningless.

What they don't realize is that all too often little things lead to big things—either for good or bad. As a kid, I attended a tiny church in my hometown. I started serving God as a young teenager by picking up the hymnals after both church services on Sundays. Just a little thing, but one thing led to another, to another, and to another—until for the last four decades I have had the privilege of reaching multiplied thousands with the gospel around the world, first through a literature ministry and for the last decade via email and the Internet.

The same principle applies to evil deeds. I imagine that the accountants at Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, etc., started in a very small way adjusting the books; here a small adjustment; there a small adjustment; next a little bigger adjustment; and so on until their companies collapsed.

My former broker in Australia who handled my retirement fund—30 years of savings—stole my entire fund several years ago as well as those of at least eight other clients. He either hid all this money or spent it because, when he was ordered by the judge to pay up, he declared bankruptcy. It was only a short time before he started stealing that a large gambling center was opened not far from his office. My best guess is that he possibly started to gamble in a small way; began to lose money; then more money; then he stole from one client; lost more money; then stole from another client; and so on until he got caught. He has now spent some of his best retirement years in jail.

When will we ever learn that sin has its own destructive pathway and that whatever we sow we reap—if not now, it will be later in eternity—unless we repent of our sins and turn to the Savior? The best advice is that which is painted on a sign on a rocky Hawaiian beach, "When in doubt, don't!"

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to always live in harmony with life's principles as found in Your Word, the Bible. And, grant that our nation will realize that these are eternal and universal truths that cannot be broken without dire consequences. Grant that we will confess our sins and waywardness and turn back to You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Song of Solomon 2:15 (NASB).


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