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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Flower bloom close-up (Ester)
God's up-close intricate design of a spring daffodil
(Photo by Ester, click to enlarge)

"I'm Not Home Yet"

Message summary:
As God's children our main call is to remember where our real citizenship lies. Paul plainly states "But our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). Today, I want you to remember this, my friend, and hold loosely to the things of this world.

Note: Due to late meeting Monday evening and early chaplaincy visitation Tuesday a podcast was not prepared for this message.

"This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor" (Romans 13:7).

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

Today many of us in the USA have a poignant reminder of living in this present world, a day we often call "tax day". Although we pay taxes all through the year, actually practically daily (sales taxes), and in our case several rather large property taxes throughout the year, today is the deadline for filing our income tax returns for our federal, state and local taxes, a reminder of this "present world" after the triumphant joy of Easter weekend.

To use a Biblical phrase, everyone must do their rendering unto Caesar (see Matthew 22:21). Paul's instruction to the Romans in our daily text is among the hard verses of the Bible. Not because it's hard to interpret, but rather hard (for me anyway) to joyfully obey it. Some have gone so far as to assert that Paul is not speaking of civil authorities here, but the church, which hardly fits the broader context.

It's often been said that there are two universals: death and taxes. Today I consider our commonality in Christ and our commonality in paying taxes regardless of where we live. Many of our US residents probably already did their taxes but I tend to procrastinate till the last week, although I am usually not like those who will make the trip to the Post Office late this evening. Hard though it may be, let's take a look at our daily text and consider it an act of obedience!  But can you really do it joyfully?

I honestly have to fight grumpiness on this matter.  I've read about $500 dollar toilet seats, government funded pornographic "art" and scores of other outrageous programs and waste comes to mind. The daily verse is not one that I've  intentionally memorized or found comfort in.  But it is part of the whole counsel of God and our submission to God calls us to obedience, including this area of funding that most of us would say is not to our liking.

After all, governments - particularly as they "progress", have never been known for the prudent use of the money they extract from their citizenry. Taxes and tax collectors have always been unpopular. In Biblical times tax collectors were disdained and often automatically associated with "sinners".

Many in our land have been deceived by the intriguing contribution of an Iowan by the name Beardsley Ruml, who in the forties proposed the withholding of taxes from each paycheck. Now many look forward to "tax time" and the money they will be getting "back"!

As God's children our main call is to remember where our real citizenship lies. Paul plainly states "But our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). Today, I want you to remember this, my friend, and hold loosely to the things of this world.

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, this world is not our home, we're just a passin' through, but it sure takes alot of money to set up a home and provide for a family. It also requires giving a good portion of our earnings to the government which can be difficult most especially when our allegiance to You clashes with our allegiance to  governmental expenses that fund causes that grieve your heart and conflict with Scripture. And yet we also seek to be obedient to Scripture in giving to Caesar that which is Caesar's. We want to be honest and seek to be fair. Grant us peace as we obey the law of the land while also seeking to be obedient to You. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Last night I (Stephen) joined several friends at the ABR (Associates For Biblical Research) banquet at the Shady Maple and heard an outstanding message from Dr. Frank Turek.

Four chaplains 4/17/17
Last night we had four chaplains in our group, corporate, hospice (Mark Pulliam), motorcycle (Mike Martin), Living history (John Uhler)

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

"This World is Not My Home"  Video  Students of Charity Youth Bible School

"This World Is Not My Home"  Video  Homecoming Singers

"This Is Not Where I Belong"  Video   Building 429   The name is derived from Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

"Blessings"  Video  
Laura Story  Outstanding lyrics!

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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