Proverbs 10:22 (NLT)
The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and he adds no sorrow with it.
It’s that time again, ugh. Tax season. Time to drag out all your W-2’s and documentation to submit a report of earnings and proper payment of one’s taxes. We lost another deduction this year. Preparing a tax return, one may become a bit anxious wondering if they paid enough the previous year or will I need to pay the IRS more. Scrambling to gather every possible deduction to lower one’s burden can be quite overwhelming. This is also a time of testing our faith in God. Will we trust the Lord? Will we remain truly obedient by being completely honest in preparing and filing a return? Of course, now come on. I mean really what’s the big deal. It is not God I am cheating but the government of this world that is totally corrupt. The Lord desires complete integrity and honesty of His People because we trust the Lord to care for us. We do not need to cut corners, help Him out or gloss over the truth but simply just believe that He will care for us in all things.
I know that many try to separate church and state. It is impossible because people are involved. Where there is a person, a soul or God’s Creation – He is there. Therefore, though they may try God will examine the hearts of those who participate in the governments of this world. Even us as we prepare and file our taxes which is the very same thing. So where did this all come from? Well, yesterday I began to organize last year’s medical deduction. In the past couple of seasons, as one might imagine, we were able to claim the deduction as our son’s illness was quite costly. This year we cannot. At first, for just a split second, I was a bit disappointed until the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. The fact that I cannot take a worldly deduction is because I have had a supernatural response. Against all odds and doctors statistics – our son has been healed and delivered of cancer. Our lack of medical bills is proof that God is good and able to do exceedingly and abundantly above what we can think or ask.
The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and He adds no sorrow with it. God is good. He is an excellent Father. He provides all that we needs supplying them according to His Riches in glory not the economy of this world. Money is a magnifier. It takes the contents of our heart and puts it on full display as one is able to live out their dreams. Sadly, most people who win the lottery and inherit large sums of money will be bankrupt in just three years according to recent studies. The very thing that they thought would change their life for the better puts them in a deeper debt situation. A preacher once said that in order to claim your healing, one must give up their disability check. In order to live above the poverty level, they must give up the government handout. Whoa! These words ring true as I smile and claim no medical deduction this year. Look what the Lord has done!
I Peter 2:13-17 (NLT)
For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
I think it would be safe to say that with only about two percent of the church who tithe that people have trouble trusting God with their money. Tax evasion is illegal and ungodly. I watched a deposition the other day of a mega church pastor who was required by the IRS to give account for his personal deductions, I was embarrassed for the Body of Christ in that moment. In the last few years, there has been a rash of audits as the church is held accountable to the government to keep its tax exempt status. The outcome has been so sad. The Bible is clear. We are to fear God. We are to respect the king, president or whoever has been placed in authority over our life. We are not accountable for their actions but our submission. We respect God when we do so. How? It means that our faith in God allows us to be honest in all we do, because His Blessing adds no sorrow with it. If we do the Will of God, follow the Way of God and live honest open lives before all men – it draws others to Christ.
Submit to all human authority. Do you give your best at your job? Or do you take care of personal business wasting the boss’s time? Do you have to minimize your screen when coworkers walk by? Do you pay for items that you leave the store with by mistake? Do you clock in and out properly? Do you charge clients fairly or pad the bill? Do you pay your taxes? All of these things determine our in God. Giving our best in all situations and living in open honesty. This is the message today. If you want God’s best, stop trying to make up for the deficits in your life and let the Lord do it.
Psalm 37:25-29 (NLT)
Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing. Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die. The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.
I have never seen the godly abandoned. I have never seen their children begging for bread. God meets our needs. Those who choose to put their finances in His Hand along with everything else in their life have nothing to fear. When I look back each year at the Lord’s Provision for our family, the finances seldom add up. It is the Lord’s Favor that does the trick. He does not always operate monetarily. In fact, most of the time, it is hard to track how He provided I just know that He did. To have this promise and live such a life requires very little. Turn from evil. Do good. Love justice. Easy right…not so fast. To live openly and honestly requires us to step out of the gray areas of societal norms such as fudging on our taxes and wasting others times to live in complete honesty before God and men.
It does not say that the godly will live in debt. It doesn’t say that they will have less than enough. It says here that they will “possess” the land. They will be “generous”. In order to have what God has promised means that we have to do what He says. Obedience is crucial. Honesty is absolutely a must. When we choose to live God’s Way, His Hand opens in our life revealing the many blessings hidden there all along. Do you want your inheritance from the Father? You must be a Child of God.
Matthew 17:24-27 (NLT)
On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?” “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”
The Lord has granted us freedom. Our freedom may be used to serve God. It is not a requirement. We are not forced into submission to the Lord but choose a life of servitude to honor Him. Unless you are independently wealthy and totally self-sufficient apart from this world, you will be called to choose today if you will live according to the governments of this world or break its law. In the same respect, you will be held accountable for this day according to God, will you obey God’s Word and do His Will or choose your own bidding? By virtue of Who He was, Jesus should not have been required to pay the temple tax, but He did anyway. Jesus sent Peter down to the water with a fish and line. Peter went. In doing so, a coin was provided large enough to pay both of their temple taxes. And so it is with the Lord in our obedience. Peter respected the local authorities meeting natural requirements and in doing so Jesus blessed Him supernaturally.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIV)
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11) If it is true, which I believe it is, that God gives seed to the sower – I must sow to have seed. If I am unwilling to take my time, talent and treasure to commit to God’s Service in all areas of my life including that which I render to all lower authorities in my life. I will always have more than enough. In fact, I can live a generous, giving life. Do I render to God what is God? Do I tithe as Biblically indicated? I promise if you want to see a significant shift in your finances start tithing! Tithing is not enough. We must also be faithful in our finances according to this world. Why? Anything less would be dishonesty and a lack of integrity. Do not “buy it” if you cannot pay for it. What about our work life that generates our income? Are we giving the job the amount of time required to receive our paycheck? Do we work or play? Do we give our boss our best or just when he or she walks by? We are supposed to work as if we are working for the Lord. Your testimony is wasted if you try to share Jesus with those who carry your weight in the office or see you constantly wasting time. If I cannot be generous, there is a problem. A deficit to be righted in my way. Proverbs 10:9 says that whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes a crooked paths will be found out.
2 Corinthians 1:12 (NIV)
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:11-12) It is time for men and women of God to shift their dependency from this world and its support to God and His Prosperity. As our soul prospers so will we. I believe that if Christian men and women decided to respect the authority God has placed over them out of obedience and reverence for the Lord that things would begin to shift and change. I have heard many preacher say that the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22) Where are the righteous? The uncompromisingly righteous who will not stop until their life is an open book with balanced ledgers before the Lord.
We must grow, mature and develop in our walk with the Lord. To remain as children, and never try to live as Christ has instructed is not an advantage of grace but is an act of disobedience. It is in repentance and the yielding of our life to Christ that we are changed into Children of the Living God. He withholds no good thing from those who do. Today, I am rejoicing in the fact that God is faithful and true. I may have to grab a fishing pole and cast my line in the water when it comes to paying our taxes, but it is worth it to say to others, “Look what the Lord has done.” The fact that I even have to pay taxes in the first place means that the Lord has provided. Thank you, Jesus. We must fear God and respect authority in our life in order to live a life of right standing with God. The Lord knows our heart and its motives. If our motive is to serve the Lord with our whole life, we may have to give a little more of our natural life to secure the supernatural provision of the King of King and Lord of Lords.
Do you trust Him today? Jesus met a paralyzed man. He had been that way for 38 years. When He met the man at the pool, the Lord asked him, “Do you want to get well?” What kind of question is that? Of course, he did…didn’t he? He said, “I have no one to carry me to the water.” That is not what Jesus asked. He asked if he wanted to get well. What did Jesus say? “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” The Lord has saved you to the uttermost. Healed you completely. You are more than a conqueror. You have been freed from the bondage of sin and captivity of darkness. He is telling us today to “Get up!” Pick up our mats and walk.” We must walk in the righteousness of God granted to us through Jesus Christ to live the new life and have the prosperity promised to those in right standing with God – the Father. Trouble is He does all those things for us yet we still sit on the beggar’s porch in life. Our Father supplies all of our need. We have an inheritance. We are blessed beyond any curse. All we have to do is walk humbly with our God. It means that we live an honest life with open integrity. To take responsibility for our actions in our everyday life and make them line up with the way God tells us to live. To have the next level of God’s Faithfulness requires one more step of obedience. Will you get there today?
Proverbs 11:1-6 (NIV)
The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.