Tag Archives: Jesus

Today Is The Day: No extensions, No loopholes, No Kidding…this time!

So? Did you get your taxes done weeks ago? Or did you procrastinate? Did you get a refund? Or were you waiting until the last second because you owed?

April 15this known as Tax Day. Well, sort of. This year, Tax Day was April 17th…or 18th, or just ask for an extension! Has the IRS gone soft? Well, not really.

You see, the IRS expected 17 million taxpayers to file their taxes yesterday, along with 14 million who were filing for an extension. But due to an online payment issue, millions of taxpayers were unable to pay. So the IRS gave 1 extra day to file.

Of course, as nice as it was of the IRS to give an extra day, they still mean business. And eventually, we have to pay. And if you wait too long, there could be serious consequences.

The idea of “giving an extra day, but still meaning business” reminded me of something Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3: “mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” Peter responded that God didn’t forget, but He has been saving a day for judgment.

He continues: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Did you catch that? Patient. God has given, and continues to give, “1 more day” extensions to humanity. But a day is coming when the “heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

A spiritual tax bill is coming because of our sins. And as Romans 6:23 states, there is a steep penalty if we are outside of grace on that day. We can’t earn  forgiveness. Thanks be to Jesus,though, the payment has been made!

Enter into His grace, remain in Him, and receive a tax forgiveness better than the IRS could ever give!

Are You Ready? Put Me In Coach!

Are you ready? Right now. This moment. Not in an hour, not in a minute, but at this exact second. Are you ready?

Scott Foster was ready. About two weeks ago, the 36 year-old accountant had to answer a very simple question: “Are you ready?” He said, “yes,” and the rest is history.

Foster, an emergency back-up goalie, never anticipated actually playing in an NHL game. As an emergency back-up, he enjoys a meal, watches the game from the sky box, and goes to games for free. But that night was different!

Foster, a former college goalie, was told to suit up. And when Chicago lost Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia to injuries, he sprang into action. The accountant went from his 10-key that afternoon to stopping all seven shot attempts during the final 14 minutes of the Blackhawks’ 6-2 victory.

The crowd chanted his name. The team jumped on him. No one can ever take that moment away from Foster and his family. Why? He was ready.

The United States Coast Guard’s motto is “Semper Paratus.” It means, “Ever Ready.” The Scouts say, “Be Prepared.” It means they are ready, in mind and body, to do their duty. But did you know that long before hockey, the Coast Guard, or the Scouts, the Bible taught how important it is to “be ready?”

Proverbs 20:4 teaches us not to procrastinate. In 1 Peter 3:15, Peter tells the disciples that they must always be ready to explain to people why they have hope in Christ. Jesus often spoke about living a life that proves we are ready for His return (Matthew 24:44).

What about you? Are you prepared to share your faith? What if Jesus returned right now? Have you confessed Him as the Son of God? Have you been baptized? Do you walk in faith, ready for His return?

By the way, Foster boasts a perfect average in the NHL. Pretty cool. We aren’t perfect, but I’ll rejoice far more for a “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

You’re Being Stalked…Do You Care?

If you’ve seen the video, and you are a parent, it is the stuff of nightmares. A family, out walking on a pleasant day, strolled along unaware, as a coyote stalked them. The coyote also bit a 5 year-old boy on the leg, almost attacked a woman, and was shot at but got away later that day.

Coyote sightings are becoming more common. Attacks occur more frequently. Just recently, three coyotes stalked a 12 year-old girl on her walk home from school. Scary stuff.

But did you know that you and your family are being stalked every day by something far scarier than a coyote? Yet, most people ignore the stalker. We pretend everything is ok!

Of course, I’m talking about the things of this world that would tear us apart and leave us spiritually dead. Did you know that Satan is out there, right now, stalking you like prey? “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).

Jesus warned about false prophets who “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Paul advised elders: “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). Ezekiel exposed “wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and destroying lives, in order to get dishonest gain” (Ezekiel 22:27).

Ravenous piritual enemies do tremendous harm. They “cause dissensions and hindrances.” They feed “their own appetites; and…deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting” (Romans 16:17-18).

None of us would knowingly ignore a coyote, wolf, or prowling lion, stalking our family on a walk. But that is what we do when we allow sin to “tag along” with us! When culture shapes our lives, rather than godliness, Satan devours.

Of course, we cannot hide. In fact, Jesus sends us out, calling us, “sheep in the midst of wolves.” But He warns: “be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

So…be smart! Don’t ignore sin as it stalks your family. If you do, you will eventually get bitten. Walk in the world, but be vigilant as you go!

A Couple of Good Purim Lessons For Everyone

Do you celebrate Purim? Unless you are a Jewish child, or have Jewish children/grandchildren, Purim probably isn’t big on your to-do list today. But even if you aren’t celebrating, or Jewish, we can all learn good lessons from this holiday.

Purim comes from Esther, the last book of history in the Old Testament. It takes place when Persians ruled (mid-400’s B.C.). It is a “rabbinical” holiday, meaning that it was not instituted by God’s command, i.e., Passover, Yom Kippur, etc. Rather, somewhat like the 4th of July, it is a celebration of a great victory.

The holiday gets its name from the plural of “pur” or lots. Haman wanted to kill all the Jewish people because a Jewish man named Mordechai would not bow down to him. “Lots” were cast to choose a day for all Jews to be killed in their towns. Instead, though, by God’s providential care, and the work of Esther, God’s people were saved. A day of celebration, “Purim,” commemorates that victory.

Today, Jews celebrate Purim with:

  • Reading Esther.
  • Giving gifts to the poor – a reminder to help the less fortunate.
  • Festivities: decorations, costumes, food, music, etc.

You might ask, “What does that have to do with me?” Consider two great lessons from Purim…

First, Esther was in the right place at the right time to help people. We are equally in the right place at the right time to do something for God’s glory. What is it? I’m not sure what your calling is, but “for such a time as this” you have a purpose! Read Romans 12 and consider your spiritual gift for God’s purpose.

Secondly, Purim celebrates salvation from certain death. A letter of death was sent and their fate was sealed. God intervened. Today, Christians are also saved from the certain death of sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23). But do you celebrate that fact? Remember to thank God for salvation!

So…you may not be dressing up, celebrating, or eating yummy Hamantashen today, but it is always a good time to review some scripture, remember God’s providential care, and rejoice in His victory!