Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Today is April 15th. It marks two big events this year. It is Tax Day, and it also begins Holy Week.

As a freelance writer, I am self-employed, so I have to pay double the taxes people with employers do. The thing is, when money is tight, it is tempting not to pay into my savings so I can make those nasty quarterly payments to the beloved IRS. And if an expense comes up, such as an unforeseen medical bill or a flat tire, well, okay I could skip a quarter and pay next April. Or hope that I can find a few more deductions to make up for it. I can let it slide, right?

The IRS won’t forgive the debt, though. By April 15th, I have to pay back every cent I owe to them. Or set up monthly payments at exorbitant interest rates. Talk about sliding downhill into debt! At times I wish I had a Sugar Daddy to bail me out.

Two millennia ago, Jesus warned, “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.  Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny” (Matthew 5:25-26). Debts have to be paid.

We live in a debt-filled society. Many owe thousands on credit cards. Our income barely keeps up with inflation, and the tax system is skewed to applaud those who can figure out the best how to get out of paying. When someone does, don’t they toot their horn and tell all their friends? “My accountant is the best. He found a way to deduct 1,000 extra dollars. The wife and I are off to Cancun after all.”

Cross on a hilltop in Kerrville, Tx. Photo courtesy of Coming King Sculpture and Prayer Garden

Not to be a Debbie Downer, I have good news. When it comes to our souls, there is also a way to get out of paying our debt to God for all that we have let slide. It is called accepting Christ as our Savior. He paid our debts–past, present, and future–on the cross.

The payback? Our gratitude, which draws us closer to Him. And it doesn’t hurt to tell others about how our debt was paid. “You would not believe how much I owed. But He paid for all of my transgressions. Every single one.”

God’s method of accounting would make a tax attorney rub his temples. God prefers to cancel as many debts as possible and let His Son pay them all.

But there is a catch. We have to ask for it.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).

We ask for help at tax time from professionals, be it online, hiring an accountant, through software, or mulling through the irs.gov site (there’s a headache).  How much more should we ask for help from the One who can save us from the worse debt of all…the one caused by our sins!

This week, don’t let the IRS deadlines overshadow the tragedy that will happen on Friday, to His glory, and for our sakes.  Pay Ceasar his due, but render your hearts, minds, and souls to God.

Then rejoice next Sunday. Celebrate that our debt is canceled because Jesus is alive. He is risen indeed. And Daddy has bailed us out!




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 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)

If you have taken time out to read this devotional today of all days, congratulations. Millions of people are only thinking of one thing today—getting their tax returns done before midnight.  They are too busy rendering unto Cesar at the moment to find time to turn to God, except perhaps in a desperate plea of panic when they see how much they owe. Tax time can definitely be a stressful time. So many rules, loopholes and hoops to jump through. Endless forms to fill in, if-that-then-this scenarios, trying to determine if you, as a square peg, can squeeze into the round hole of restrictions.

Praise God  that His way is not so convoluted. Perhaps that is why many people find salvation hard to believe. There are no hoops to jump through, no volumes of rules to follow to the letter or else, no restrictions, no loopholes. What’s the catch? It’s not that simple. No way. There has to be a plan.

Of course there is. What is God’s plan? To restore us to His presence. That’s it. His biggest desire for us is to return to Eden. But our sinful nature blocks the way. Evil lurks to trip us up and tempt us into turning our heads, and then our backs. All we need to do is to say we are sorry and we desire Christ to come into our lives and take it over. His plan brings peace into chaos, hope into despair, a future of faith where none once existed.

Today, who will you choose to serve? Jesus said we can’t have two masters. Yes, we must render unto ImageCesar, so to speak. But, the best way to do that is to realize that even the government is under God’s plan. In Romans, Paul encouraged the people to be respectful of their government because it, too, came from God. If God is truly sovereign then all is under His control, despite the human free will factor. Once we render all to Him, it makes having to render unto the government more purposeful, and all the more necessary. By paying our taxes, we are abiding by the law of the land, and in essence, obeying God’s desire for us.

Render all to God first—all your fears, misdoings, hurts, joys, blessings and money. Then trust in His plans for you. He died on a cross to ensure that plan. Whatever April 16th brings, you can have faith that it is under control. Render unto Cesar, yes. But first, surrender to God.

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