Archives

Taxes, Nehemiah 5:4-5, 14-15, 17-18

Bud.dish.WP

One burden Buddy doesn’t have to carry is calculating his income taxes every year. As a dog, he is reliant on me to provide him with his food, water, clothing, medical care and shelter. I carry the burden for his care. I bathe, walk and brush his teeth too.

Jesus told us to pay our taxes. When Jesus and the apostles arrived in Capernaum, the local tax collectors came over to Peter and asked if Jesus paid the two-drachma poll tax. Peter answered “yes” and then asked Jesus about it. Jesus produced a miracle to pay the tax: “So that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”–Matthew 17:27

Additionally, when the Pharisees and Herodians ganged up on Jesus with to test Him to try to get Him into trouble with the authorities, they asked Jesus if it was against the Jewish Law to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not. But Jesus knew that they were hostile toward Him and not sincere in their inquiry, so He asked them to hand Him a coin that was used to pay the poll tax. After handing Him a darius, Jesus answered, ‘”Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”‘–Matthew 22:20-21

I imagine that Matthew mentioned these two instances because He was sitting in his tax booth when Jesus called to Matthew to follow Him. That tax collector immediately got up and followed Jesus. At that time, tax collectors were some of the most reviled people in the Roman world.

However, I truly believe that godly people try to decrease, not increase taxes upon the populace, when they are in political office. Nehemiah is a great example. King Artaxerxes appointed his cup bearer, Nehemiah, as Governor over Judah and sent him to Jerusalem to rebuild the city’s walls. A city without walls, at that time, was considered a disgrace. When he arrived, he found the Jewish remnant (who had remained after the Babylonians had carried most of the population off into exile) in dire financial straits. One of the reasons is that the ungodly Babylonians kings had levied heavy taxes on the population. “Also there were those who said, ‘We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and on our vineyards…we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to someone else.'” (Nehemiah 5:4-5)

Nehemiah became very grieved and reprimanded those Jewish wealthy who had lent money to their fellow Hebrews and exacted usury. He appealed to them to return the fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses, and also to return a “hundred part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them.” (Nehemiah 5:11) And they did, freeing their brothers and sisters from slavery and financial bondage incurred as a result of heavy taxation.

For 12 years Nehemiah also relieved the people of Jerusalem from the burden of paying the governor’s food allowance that Nehemiah was permitted to exact from the population while acting as their governor. He paid for it himself.

“But the governors that were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides 40 shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God…Moreover, there were at my table 150 Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. Now that which was prepared for each day was one ox and 6 choice sheep, also birds were prepared for me; and once in 10 days all sorts of wine were furnished in abundance. Yet for all of this I did not demand the governor’s food allowance, because the servitude was heavy on this people.”–Nehemiah 14-15, 17-18

Godly leaders try to relieve the burden on those they govern, while those who do not fear God increase the burden: “when a wicked man rules, people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2b)

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon states that those who do not know God believe that “money is the answer to everything” (Ecclesiastes 10:19). Haven’t you been baffled by the fact that the solution most non-Christians come up with to solve social problems is always to increase taxes and throw more money at it like it’s a magic panacea? I believe it’s because those who don’t know God cannot understand that all of society’s social ills have their root in disobedience to God’s Biblical solutions to life’s problem.

It’s a bit baffling that there was a large protest recently by US citizens to increase the taxes upon the American people. Apparently they are unaware that there were record tax receipts during the George W Bush administration after a tax cut.

So, in summary, God commands that we obey our rulers and pay our taxes. We should be godly people who obey the law and not cheat and deprive the government what it is due. But whenever possible, we should support solutions that relieve people’s financial burdens, not increase them.

Come Lord Jesus.

God bless you. Dawn and Buddy

***

If you don’t know the Lord Jesus, please consider reading the Bible to learn what God says about money and how to live. A great place to start are the books of Proverbs in the Old Testament and Matthew in the New Testament. You will learn some great principles on how to live life successfully. If you’re ready to allow God to help you put these principles into practice, please pray:

Dear Lord, I thank you that you want to give me life and life abundantly. I’ve struggled in life because I haven’t been living my life according to your principles as stated in the Bible. I believe that is because I’m a sinner and need Your grace and help. I accept that Jesus was God in the flesh Who lived amongst us, died for my sins on the Cross, and then rose bodily from the grave and is alive. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of the Holy Spirit. Lead me and guide me as my good Shepherd. Thank you for hearing my prayers and giving me eternal life.

If you prayed this prayer, congratulations on becoming born-again. Please find a Bible-based church where you can grow and fellowship with other believers.

 

Advertisements

Propaganda, Proverbs 18:17

Budonbed.WP

Buddy was sitting on my bed tonight, watching me as I sat on the floor, studying my Bible. He seems to be carefully examining and thinking about what I am doing.

The longer I am a Christian, and the longer I study God’s Word–The Holy Bible–I realize that Biblical wisdom can be applied to every aspect of our private and public lives.

Proverbs 18:17 states, “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”

One of our country’s foundations is the importance of free speech. The Founders believed that when people of differing opinions are able to debate freely, the truth comes out. I truly believe it’s vitally important, not only as a Creative (person who is artistic), but also to maintain our nation’s freedom, that we allow free speech.

However, “”The naive believes everything.”–Proverbs 14:15

There are a lot of people in the USA who do not question what they hear from our media. They listen to only one point of view and don’t expose themselves to people who think differently. But the Bible warns that we need to hear both sides before we come to a conclusion (Proverbs 18:17 stated above).

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”–Proverbs 27:17 By engaging in discussion or vigorous debate with others, we sharpen our views and, also, discover where our arguments are weak or wrong.

Propaganda thrives when people refuse to listen to opposing viewpoints, because they don’t have all the facts to discover if they really have the truth or not.

I believe it’s one of the enemy’s tactics to keep people isolated and not listening to one another. For instance, someone who refuses to associate with Bible-believing Christians because their pagan worldview may be questioned “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)”

So I believe it’s vitally important for Christians to promote and protect free speech. As a nation, it’s one of our most unique and precious possessions.

And a gift from God.

****

If you’re ready to start learning about a new view of who you are, please continue reading. You are not an accident of an indifferent universe. You were designed by God (Psalm 139) and have a purpose for your life. To get to know this God who loves you, please pray the below:

God, I believe that you want me to know You. But because You’re 100% holy and blameless, I am separated from you by my sin. I ask you to forgive my sins. And give me new life in Christ, Who died for my sins, taking the punishment I deserve. There’s no way that I can earn Your forgiveness, so I accept Christ’s sacrifice for my sins as a free gift. I ask that the Holy Spirit enter into my heart and give me His life. And teach me to grow in a knowledge of You and Christ so that I can learn to discern truth from error. Thank You for loving me and making me a new Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God bless you and lead you to a Bible-believing church.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

Good News About the Ukraine

On Sunday, around 500,000 evangelical believers gathered in the central square of Kiev, Ukraine to celebrate the Protestant Reformation’s 500th anniversary and to thank God for His faithfulness in their country. Rakhuba was in contact with colleagues attending the event, and he says, “They reported over 500,000 across denominational lines from all the churches in […]

via Ukraine has been declared free for the gospel to be preached after many years of ban. — END TIMES

God’s Bath, James 4:6

Soaked.Bud.WP

Got a surprise tonight. I didn’t plan on spending part of my Saturday evening giving my dog a bath, but it was pointed out to me by a family member that he had a “poopie butt”. That can happen when you aren’t properly maintaining your dog’s coat and let the fur on the back end get too long near the anus.

At time God has to give me a little “bath” too. In His eyes, I am cleansed of my sins because of my faith in Jesus, which was His gift of righteousness to me, unearned (Ephesians 2:4-9) but sometimes I get my feet dirty.

“Jesus said to (Peter), ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean,'”–John 13:10

At times I’ll get a little haughty and think, “I’m doing OK this week in the sin department,” and then God points His finger at me and says, “Well, what about this?”

And I’ll respond, “Augh! Oh no! You’re right, Lord. I shouldn’t be thinking or doing that or having that attitude. Please help me to change.”

God doesn’t toss me into the bathtub to punish me, but to show me where I need to improve to better glorify Him, and serve Him and others.

“God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”–James 4:6

It was pride that caused Satan to fall and become the leader of all wickedness, and pride that caused the Pharisees and chief priests and the elders of the Jewish people to hand Jesus over to Pilate to be crucified:

“For (Pilate) knew that that because of envy they had handed Him over.”–Matthew 27:18

When we become born-again and enter into God’s family as one of His beloved children, we are GIVEN the righteousness of Christ so that we can fellowship with a holy God. A parable of the Christian life that preachers often use to illustrate our changed condition from unbeliever to believer is the caterpillar which weaves a cocoon and emerges, after radical change, into a beautiful butterfly. But as Pastor Bob George points out, we sometimes don’t fly like we should. Sometimes we stay down on the ground and wiggle through the mud like we’re still fuzzy worms.

I add: Then when we try to fly it’s difficult to soar upward and enjoy the freedom of flight when we have mud coating our wings. We have to shake that mud off so that we can fly well. God doesn’t knock the mud off our wings to make us feel bad or to depress us; He wants us to fly in the freedom He’s given us from the bondage of sin and from the consequences that bad or wicked attitudes can bring into our lives.

It feels great to fly free. Thank you, Lord, when you correct me.

And Lord, thank you I can fly in the joy of faith in the sunshine of Your love although there’s still a lot of mud speckling my wings.

Thanks for your time. I realize you have myriads of choices on how to spend it. I appreciate you chose to spend a little with me.

***

End note: If you are not born-again, you may feel free but you’re actually walking in bondage to the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live even if he dies,” (John 11:25). Please consider saying this prayer: “Father, I admit that I have offended you and cannot live up to Your righteous standards. I accept that Jesus died on the Cross to take the punishment I deserve for my sin. Please forgive me and enter into my heart and give me eternal life in Christ. Be my Lord and teach me to walk in your ways.” If you’ve said this prayer, God promises to “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”–Luke 11:13  God bless you and guide you to a Biblically-based church fellowship.

 

Religious Freedom Joshua 24:14-15

buddy-sleeping-wp-3-5-17

It really bums me when Buddy doesn’t want to hop onto my bed and sleep with me some nights and, instead, runs to a family member’s room to spend the night. Sometimes I know the reason–my electronics beeped and scared him off–but often I don’t know the reason why. However, I don’t force him to stay in the room with me by closing him in the room. (He’s yet to figure out how to turn the doorknob.) If I force him to stay, I know he’ll be unhappy, so I let him go. He’s free to make his choice.

Joshua warned the Jewish nation that it was best for them to serve the Lord God of the Bible, the great King who led them out of slavery in Egypt and into the land promised to Abraham’s and his descendants many centuries earlier, a land of great bounty and blessing. Abraham’s father was a pagan and the Israelites had been surrounded with false gods while in bondage in Egypt. (The 10 plagues were judgments against 10 of the important Egyptian gods.) Yet, despite the pillar of Fire at night and the Cloud by day (the visible presence of God) that led the people to the Promised Land, they carried false gods from Egypt with them.

The below is one of the first great statements of religious freedom in the Bible, and I think maybe, the World (but there’s lots I don’t know about religious history).

Joshua said to the Israelites:

“…fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua made it clear where he stood, but he declared that the Israelites had a choice to serve God or not to serve Him.

God created us, loves us and sustains our lives every day. But He doesn’t force us to love and serve Him. We are free to make our own decision whom we will serve.

Then people blame God when people choose evil instead of following Him and doing good.

That’s the price of freedom.