Hope for your financial life and beyond

Is the Bible Really Clear About Paying Taxes?

Hidden Nuggets Series #83 – “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:21

taxes in the bibleLike you, my tax paperwork is due to be filed by April 15th. I’ll grant you this is no fun to fill out every year. It’s become a much easier task though since my wife became a CPA.

Talking about taxes sets our blood to a boil. We don’t like that we work so hard only to see that much money taken from each paycheck. “Isn’t there a way to avoid it?” we ask.

That question should raise alarm bells for everyone. While certain maneuvers with money are legal, many others are not. If we are not careful, that question can lead us down a path of handling our money in a way that we might regret one day.

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God is Not a Cosmic Killjoy

cosmic killjoyAmong the many false opinions that have developed concerning the nature of God, lies one that speaks about God’s goodness. Many people envision God as a cosmic killjoy, like a cop standing in the middle of all the world’s traffic. He’s ready to blow His whistle when one car veers slightly to the left or right.

People who have this view of God would basically see Him as the spoiler of all their fun.

“Stop that!” “You can’t go there!” “You don’t need those nice things!” “One more time doing that and I am going to zap you!” “Don’t you dare cross that line!”

At the heart of this belief people are really asking the question, “Does God really want to bless me and meet my needs?”  In other words, “Can I truly believe that God wants to provide for me?” Well, the answer from the Bible is that He does in more ways than we can imagine.

Cosmic Killjoy or Not?

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How Do You Define Success?

What is the definition of success? How do we measure it? Is there a dividing line between success and failure? Is it based on a position you attain, how much money possess, or the power you wield? Or is it based on something more altruistic like how you impacted others or the legacy you leave behind? And who defines your success? Is it based on your own self-assessment or other people’s opinions?  What is the magic formula for being successful?

That’s a lot of questions to ask and no doubt you are beginning to form your own opinions about what makes a person successful. I have a pretty good idea though that as I describe this next character, successful will be the last word that comes to your mind.

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All That Glitters Is Not Gold

You can see it in his eyes. The passion…the desire…the intense hunger to possess the golden treasure. The moment of a lifetime has finally come. All the tests have been passed and now the reward is within his grasp. Nothing can stop him now.

Accept maybe the consequences that await from lifting that little golden head off its intended resting place. You just knew that little bag of sand was not going to work.

In the next few moments, Indiana Jones would face a collapsing cave roof, poison darts, spears thrust from the cave walls (which did skewer his traveling companion), a giant rolling boulder, natives with spears and more blow darts before he barely escapes with his life. The worst part is he didn’t even get to keep the treasure, having to turn it over to his treasure-seeking arch rival. Sure does seem like something bad happens when we try to attain something that we are not supposed to have.

Ever heard it said that the eyes are the window to the soul?

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God’s Provision (Part II): Our Attitude Plays a Role

We saw in part one how God provided for Elijah during a terrible drought in Israel. I Kings 17:6 tells us that ravens brought him bread and meat each day and he drank water from the brook.  Everything was going fine for him, that is until the brook dried up because of the drought. “What now God?” Elijah is surely thinking. “How will I survive without water?”

God wasn’t through showing his miraculous powers to Elijah. No more water…no problem for God. He next instructs Elijah to go to the city Zarephath. When Elijah arrives at the city gate, he meets a woman gathering sticks. This is their interaction in verses 10-13:

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