The $285 Cinnamon Roll

The $285 Cinnamon Roll

November 21, 2014

“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” Psalm 106:3 (NIV)

It was a simple cinnamon roll. Well, not the run-of-the-mill, refrigerated whack-open canned variety. It was a jumbo pastry from our local all-night diner, laden with gooey cream cheese frosting. The cost? Just $285.

My 16-year-old son was spending the night with some boys at a neighbor’s house. A little past dark, they got a hankering for this famed treat and decided to make the less than 2-mile trek to satisfy their culinary desire.

Our state has rules for 16-year-old drivers. They may not have more than one other person in the car unless they are related or the group is heading to or from school. Also, they may not drive past 10 p.m. unless they’re returning from school, church or work.

These boys knew all this, so they decided one of them — age 19 — would drive. However, his car was out of gas. So my son allowed him to drive our car instead. Upon leaving the restaurant, his friend discovered he didn’t have his driver’s license with him. The group decided it was better for my son to shuttle the gang the short distance home rather than for his friend to drive without his license.

When they were almost home, the red and blue flashing lights of a police vehicle interrupted their quick outing. My son got pulled over. Questioned. Busted. Not only was my son driving past curfew, but he also had three unrelated passengers in the vehicle with him. He was fined heavily and ordered to pay for an online driving refresher course. Additionally, he had to appear before a judge at the Secretary of State’s office.

Although the authorities told us the hearing is usually just a stern lecture (which we were glad he would get!) when his turn came, the usual judge was ill. Instead, our son appeared before a judge from a neighboring county. She listened to his story. And then? She took his drivers license away completely for two months, and ordered him to pay another three-digit fine to get it back!

The diner’s menu that fateful night listed the cinnamon roll for the meager price of $3 and some change. In the end, it actually cost our son a total of $285 dollars of his own hard-earned money because he did not do the right thing by obeying the laws of our state.

Although we know we should “always do what is right” as today’s key verse urges, sometimes we think we can bend the rules ever so slightly. We might even have good reason, as my son felt he did that night. But a rule is a rule. A law is a law. Breaking them comes with consequences — sometimes even stiff penalties and hefty fines.

Likewise, we might bend God’s rules. Flirt with sin. Rationalize wrongdoing.

Things such as … It’s not really “gossip” if I’m simply sharing a prayer request. I don’t think of it as lying, just creatively leaving out a few minor details. Come on! I’m just reconnecting with a former guy “friend” I found on Facebook for a cup of coffee. What harm could there be in that?

We might know what God commands of us in Scripture by heart, but sometimes we decide ignoring a command “just this once” isn’t really a big deal. We convince ourselves we probably won’t get caught. However, these seemingly innocent actions could lead to more costly behavior. Sin snowballs. And it often cruelly crushes those foolish enough to stand in its path.

When we’re tempted to twist God’s commands oh-so-slightly, let’s remember my cinnamon-roll-craving son. What we think has a very affordable and even enticing price tag might end up costing us a whole lot more.

Father, please help me to pause before I decide to bend Your commands even a tiny bit. Give me the strength to make right and righteous choices. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Genesis 4:7, “You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (NLT)

Romans 13:3, “For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Need more encouragement to help you forge your relationship with God and avoid wrong choices? Visit Karen Ehman’s blog for a chance to win a Bible study bundle of her book and DVD teaching series entitled LET IT GO: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith.

Looking for more inspiration to live by God’s Word in everyday life? You might like to try Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life by Wendy Blight.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one area in your life that — if not kept in check — could potentially lead to a sinful and messy situation? Take this matter to God in prayer now asking Him to empower you with strength to avoid sin and pursue righteousness.

© 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Would you like your picture to show up next to your comment? Click here for instructions.

Visit Gravatar.com and create a free account with the email address you use to leave comments on blogs and other websites. Upload the picture you want associated with that email address and you're all set!

Comments

  1. Sometimes one may think that sin comes through that door of compromise like a little mouse. When we crack the door, we find we are facing a roaring lion ” seeking to devour” and destroy. We are deceived into thinking a “little” sin equals a small consequence. We are blinded by satan into thinking that a “little” sin is no big deal to God. God’s Word, however, tells us that all sin is a big deal to God so much so that He allowed His precious” only begotten Son” to die to give us the opportunity for salvation and redemption from all our sins. If sin will separate us from God, we need to take His Word on sin very seriously. I have heard it said, “Sin takes you places you never thought you would go,makes you stay there much longer than you want, brings you to do things you never thought you would do, and costs you more than you could have ever imagined.”

  2. The one area of my life that may lead to trouble if I don’t use it for the good of God would have to be patience. I had to be patient while waiting to learn if my husband, Ron Smith would be moving from the Mary Bryant Home For the Blind and Visually Impaired in Springfield, Illinois to Eden Supportive Living Champaign here in Champaign, Illinois. USA.After a lot of praying and waiting, our prayers finally came true. We’re now in a place where we’re extremely blessed and happy.- “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” Psalm 106:3 (NIV)
    Wow! What a wonderful verse at such a late-night hour! When we do what is just and right, we are going to be blessed way beyond what we can possibly imagine.
    “Father, please help me to pause before I decide to bend Your commands even a tiny bit. Give me the strength to make right and righteous choices. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”~Karen Ehman
    Eow! What a powerful prayer at this time of night! We should allow God to help us in the areas we need help in. we should ask God to help us pause before we choose to go against what He wants us to do-even if it’s a little bit. We should ask God to strengthen us to make the right and best choises to please Him.
    Genesis 4:7, “You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (NLT)
    Wow! What a very powerful thing to remember at this late night hour. God will accept us into His kingdom if we do what’s right. Ultimately, the wrong choice will make God choose to turn His back on us.
    Romans 13:3, “For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.” (NLT)
    Wow! How incredible! What a very powerful verse! God is merely asking us to do what is right at all times in order for Him to bless us. Not doing what is right at all times will cause us to have blessings be taken away from us.

    • Nico, I love the very last statement of your message! Yes, when we do what is right in the eyes of God and what He desires, we are truly blessed!

  3. Although our righteousness is a gift from God yet God utmostly demands the fruits of righteousness from our daily living.
    Ecclesiastes 10:8b says snake (i.e.SATAN) bites whoever bring the commands of God.

    The era of grace is not an excuse for sinful living instead the grace era makes it easy for us to live a sin free life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    The Bible says flee( i.e run away at a speed of flying) from every appearance of sin because you reap whatever you sow in the course of your daily living { cf Isaiah 1:19}.

    In John 8:31 Jesus Christ said you are my disciples when you keep my commands otherwise you are the disciples of Satan because who you obey is your master{cf John 14 verse 15}.

  4. God bless his word. Thank you!

  5. Wow., what a great message. So true., sin creeps through just a bit and then kirblam we are in a huge mess.

  6. What a great reminder! I am going to share this story with my children. Every small wrong decision can have consequences. I have been reminded in light of the breaking accusations about Bill Cosby how we are all subject to sin and have to guard ourselves carefully. Satan would love to sift us all as wheat. That is why we need to make every decision carefully and stay far away from anything that could put us on the wrong path. My blog post today was also about heeding God’s warning. I trust we will listen to God’s voice. Thanks again for such a great reminder.
    http://versesfrommama.blogspot.com/2014/11/heed-warning.html

  7. Ouch! That hurt so good!

  8. Mary Reynolds says:

    There is something that bothers me about your son’s story.
    I understand that by rationalizing and letting seemingly little things slide, we can end up mired in sin. What is missing for me in this story is mercy. The judge was much to harsh and I hope your son didn’t end up bitter because of how this played out.
    Should there have been consequences as the result of the choice he made? Yes. This was definitely a teachable moment.
    Should he have been made to bear the full weight of the law? Assuming that he is a good kid with a clean record, no.
    One of God’s hallmarks is mercy.
    I hope that his forgetful 19 year friend at least offered to help pay the fine.

    • Mary–
      Thank you for your comment. It is very difficult to tell an entire story in such a short word allotment as a devotion. But the answer is yes, his friend felt horrible and did offer to help with the fine. We did not help pay it, since he knows he could have called us and we would’ve run up to the restaurant and driven the boys home. We also showed him great mercy and helped him carry out his punishment. For two months I cheerfully took him everywhere he needed to go which included work, school, and sports. I also cooked him his favorite from scratch dinner and dessert on the night his punishment came down from the judge. We saw a lot of growth and life lessons learned through this whole ordeal. Thanks for asking for the backstory.

  9. This is a great devotional and the verses underneath were perfect. I’m having trouble with gossiping friends and being lied to. I have squelched the desire multiple times to seek out my own, well I guess you would call it revenge, to teach them a lesson and let them know I know. The desire has been growing as well as the hurt from this. I’m going to give it to God, He will handle it. Thank you for this today.

  10. Wow, that was awesome. I really needed to hear that in so many ways. Thanks.

  11. I always need to be reminded to do what is right no matter what. One of my greatest areas of temptation is gossip. I will oftentimes justify it by saying/thinking it isn’t gossip if I am only telling my family or closest friends. Of course, I know deep down that sin is sin. My prayer is that I will feel convicted so deeply each time that I am tempted to spread gossip. I do not want to be known as a person who spreads news about others.

  12. BUSTED . . . yep, was wrestling with God for over a week . . . it wasn’t fair. They were a Believer and should not act that way toward me. Really? God is still on the throne and my heart finally yielded to His love for me. In response, I was given grace, again, and joy unspeakable. So thankful He waits so patiently for me to yield. And it is so much better . . . why do I do it? Sin. Thankful for His death and resurrection.

  13. Karen, I could so appreciate this story! Bending the rules, even slightly, always seems to end up causing drama or trauma. And, the phrase “sin snowballs” perfectly captures what often happens when I flirt with wrongdoing. I am clinging to the verse from Genesis. It is a great one to keep in front of my eyes!

  14. I commented on another page too but looks like most are on here. I’m sorry for the loss of your sister in law. I can’t wait to read your new book coming out, sounds like the perfect book for me. I would love to win a copy of your book “Let It Go…”. I so need to let things go many times.

  15. Connie Weaver says:

    I appreciated your willingness for your son to be punished by the laws of the land, instead of you trying to get him out of it. He will be a better man for it.

  16. I would be so very thankful to win the “Let it Go” bundle!! I am a suffering “control freak” and my marriage and family is in trouble because of it. We are in a bad place socially, mentally and financially, but I’m clinging to God’s promises and trusting that He is going to lead us out of this valley that feels like a bottomless pit. I trust in Him and pray that He will provide me with everything I need to make these changes.
    Thank you for your ministry! I truly believe that God allowed me to stumble upon this today because I need it!
    Even if I’m not chosen for the giveaway bundle, I know that God will provide it somehow if it is His will for me!
    Thanks for listening, and I would be so very appreciative of your prayers!

  17. You made some valid points in your story. ‘It’s not really gossip if it is a prayer request, etc.’ I personally don’t think it’s gossip if it’s YOUR story, something that happened to YOU. We all share stories about our kids, and I don’t think that is gossip. I think we might all have our version on what we think is gossip. You’re right though, sin is sin and the law is the law. I think we all try to do the right thing and that no one dances around the line-we might take a stumble but I don’t think anyone wants to cross it.

  18. I needed to read this today. Thank you so much.

  19. God bless you Karen! This devotional was an on time seasonal word for me and encouragement to continue living in right standards and praying without ceasing for the imperfections.

  20. I shared this post with my kids this morning- and we ended up having a great conversation because of it. Thank you for the cinnamon-roll story that I’m sure will stick in our minds for a long time!

  21. Thank you for this devotion! I need to be reminded to be careful about my choices. Not about sin exactly, but abou those things that seem like gray areas that can certainly lead to sin if we’re not cafeful. I struggle with depression and had a wonderful christian couselor tell me I needed to find something I could do just for enjoyment – a good hobby. Reading ia my thing. I love it; have a book with me constantly. But I struggle sometimes with choices of all the books out there…do certain types of things take my mind to places where I WOULD be tempted to sin…? So many choices for entertainment in our world today – books, movies, TV, etc. We are to live in freedom in God’s grace, but if we are keeping Jesus as our first love, we must question how these things can affect us. Sometimes it’s not so easy, especially when Christion friends have such different views on the subject.

    • Andrea,
      Thanks for sharing your perspective and your current journey with us. Just whispered a prayer for you as you and your battle with depression. May you feel God’s love strong today!

  22. Bridgette Bethell says:

    Thank you Karen! Wow! $285.00, our kids surely keep us ticking. I would love to win a copy of this
    book as I feel it would benefit me greatly. May God continue to BLESS you:-)

  23. Thank you for sharing this story. Not only am I going to share it with my own two kids, but I am also going to read it to our middle school youth group at our next meeting. I think it will be the start of a great conversation with all of them! Your son’s hard lesson is going to go a long way!

  24. Mary Reynolds says:

    Karen, thank you for the rest of the story. I am glad to know that this turned out to be a positive learning experience for your son.
    God is good and life a series of lessons. If we let Him be our teacher all will be well in the long run, even when the short run is tough.

  25. Karen – Were you peering into my family room window this past summer?? This very same thing happened to my son and his friend; driving with two “unapproved passengers” in the car, just a week before his six-month probationary drive period. Not only that, he was speeding 5 miles over the limit. Bang! 2 points on his ticket already. Poor guy. I offered his dad for my son to pay part of the ticket since he was one of the unapproved passengers, but dad said no. “T” as I will call him, was the primary decision maker and dad wanted him to learn from this experience. Although it broke my heart, I understood.

    I prayed that not only would my son and both friends learn from this, but that I as well would. I certainly did.

    Thanks for this gentle reminder 🙂

  26. This was a really great devotional….but I am just curious what you meant by “I’m just reconnecting with a former guy “friend” I found on Facebook for a cup of coffee. What harm could there be in that?” and how that compares to “gossiping” or “lying”. Particularly bc I am single and I try to obey God and follow His lead with dating. But, sometimes I think I shelter myself more than I should. Recently I have chosen to start living outside my own parameters and at least meet people. So I am very confused by how meeting a guy for coffee would be considered breaking God’s law.

    • Jamie–
      Perhaps it wasn’t clear that I meant if someone were married. I have had three different friends in real life “reconnect” with old boyfriends from their high school or college days when they were married and their marriage was a little rocky. All ended up leaving their husbands because they had an affair with their former flame. Sorry that wasn’t more clear. Blessings as you navigate the dating world and thanks for your request for clarification.

  27. Jamie, I can’t speak for the author but I would imagine that meeting an old friend isn’t a problem UNLESS you or the friend is married. What is the history? Is he just a friend or is he an old boyfriend? Did you have feelings for him that could resurface? We always have to be careful with putting ourselves in situations where the temptation is too great. It really would depend on the situation…..that’s my 2 cents anyway.

  28. I love it when the lesson is so obvious.

    I always enjoy your presentations.

  29. Great devotional! I plan to share it with my kids! One area left unchecked that will end in a messy situation is my mental health! Satan knows it doesn’t take much of me being depressed for me to be an emotional mess. I have to make sure my eyes stay on Jesus and God’s Word must stay in my heart and on my mind so I don’t start believing Satans lies, instead of God’s truth.

  30. Dear Karen
    You mentioned about how we make a little excuse for ourselves to not follow God’s heeding. How do we know if some things are not from God.

    I am a single parent. Some years ago, i prayed a prayer for God to send me someone i could lean on as i was emotionally and physically tired. Lo and behold, one of my ex boyfriend appeared two days later but it was not after 1 year that we got together.

    He is a catholic and i am a Christian. His behavior is not absolutely Christ like. This is not to say that i am. I am far from Christ in fact. Over time i find that we are not really adding values to our walk with God though at times he seems to be able to quote some scriptures to encorage me.

    I’m wondering if this he is really from God or not

    • Juliette,
      Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your comment. I am certainly not the pastor nor a trained counselor so I am not in a position to offer advice. However, I am stopping now to pray for you that you will seek out godly counsel as you also go directly to God in prayer to help you sort out what is best for you to do in this situation. Your heart shines through your words and I trust that you want God’s best for your life, which you know is what God would want for you too. Keep Him in all things. Keep in His word. He will answer.

  31. Dear Karen,

    What if I am currently in a relationship with an unbeliever? I know that this is not according to the law as well. Thus, does this indicate that I will not receive favor and blessings from God in this relationship? So, doing what is right is to break this relationship?
    I know I will need to face the consequences. Due to these, I am fearful. It seems so hard when it comes to relationship with another person that we don’t have the courage to take the next step. I need advice.

    • Mary Reynolds says:

      Prayer.
      While you have an unbeliever in your life, he has a believer in his.

    • Mary Reynolds says:

      Prayer. Talk to God.
      While you have an unbeliever in your life, he has a believer in his.

    • B. Honey–
      I will offer the same words to you as I did to Juliette, since your situations strike me a similar. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your comment. I am certainly not the pastor nor a trained counselor so I am not in a position to offer specific advice. However, I am stopping now to pray for you that you will seek out godly counsel as you also go directly to God in prayer to help you sort out what is best for you to do in this situation. And I will say this, following God’s commands is always best and his word does warn us about being “yoked together” with someone who is not a believer in Christ. We need to take his commands and warnings seriously. But exactly what that looks like in your particular situation, I cannot say. I’m thankful we can go directly to God and to those who are in spiritual authority over us in real life or counsel and advice and guidance. I suggest you do just that. Have a wonderful weekend!

  32. Speaking truth in love says:

    Dear B. Honey, the Bible speaks to being unequally yoked in relationships with others- whether in business, personal, and yes, marriage. If an oxen yoke does not fit both oxen well, they both struggle to work well together-to be a good fit. I volunteer to work with teenage girls, and one activity i use speaks to your question. I have one of the girls stand on a chair(spotters on each side for safety) and have another girl go stand in front of her. My instructions to the girl standing on the chair are to pull the other girl up on the chair with her so they can stand together. My instructions to the other girl are to just stand there and offer no assistance. The girl standing on the chair will try to pull and struggle to get the other girll on the chair with her and then gives up saying, “I can’t do this by myself.” She can’t move her trying to pull her full weight up to join her. Then I tell the girl standing in front of the girl on the chair to pull her down off the chair to stand with her. Usually, she will take the hand of the girl standing on the chair. The girl on the chair will simply take one easy step down and she is in place- standing right where the girl who reached for her wanted her to be. It is extremely difficult, usually impossible, to pull someone up to where we are. It is so easy to be pulled down to where and how someone else stands-their choices, attitudes, standards, and influence. At this point, usually the girls eyes widen and they say,”Oh, we get it.” Just some food for thought.

  33. I thank you for that devotion. It’s the truth. It is so. I know right know speaking that I made a bad choice in a relationship and the results of a circumstance and situation may cost me my life and health. But I’m gonna have to learn from this lesson. This big risk. But it was my wrong doing there is nothing I could do. Thank you !!!

  34. Janet Henderson says:

    Satan can & will trick you. Even use Bible verses. Remember he knows the bible better than you. I married a musician who wrote beautiful music for the Lord. I thought we were going to be evangelist serving the Lord together.
    After 7 yrs. I had to leave. Was like living close to hell. Received a call from the hospital that my husband was dying & wouldn’t make it until morning. He was dying of Aids. He had it along with all the other diseases the whole time we were married. I had no clue. He was having sex with men the whole time. I had leaned on the bible verse ” Lean not on your own understanding but trust in me ” through the marriage. God’s mercy brought me through it all. I got nothing from him. God new my heart & what I believed… this was about 12yrs ago.
    He married me quickly so that he could say he wasn’t gay, that he had a wife. Satan is out to get God’s kids. The only positive thing that came out of the marriage was that I drew even closer to God. He was my everything. There is so much more to this story of being tricked by satan ( Who was satan but God’s musician). You can email me for more info. If needed.
    jkcgdskid@yahoo.com

Would you like your picture to show up next to your comment? Click here for instructions.

Visit Gravatar.com and create a free account with the email address you use to leave comments on blogs and other websites. Upload the picture you want associated with that email address and you're all set!

Share Your Heart

*

Notify via Email Only if someone replies to My Comment

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!