Common Sense REBORN Devotion

January 24

16And they sent their disciples unto Him with the slaves of Herodes, and they were telling Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true and You teach the way of God in the truth, and You are not concerned for men since You have not received the faces of the sons of men.  17Yet how is it favored to You:  is it fitting for us to give the headsilver to Caesar or not?”  18But when Jesus knew of their evil, He told them, “You receivers of faces, why are you tempting Me?  19Show Me the coin of the head-silver.”  And they handed a dinar to Him.  20Jesus told them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”  21They were telling Him, “Caesar’s.”  Then He told them, “Give what is Caesar’s to Caesar and what is God’s to God.”   (Matthew 22:16-21, The Original Gospels)

Good morning family.  The above verses are some of my favorite words of Jesus.  The Pharisees were seeking to trap Jesus, and give them a reason to plead for His arrest to the Romans.  They had hoped that Jesus would denounce paying taxes to the Romans, thus making an easy argument to Herodes that Jesus was preaching against Roman rule.  But Jesus hit them with one of the most basic, yet powerful teachings in His ministry:  give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, give to God what is God’s.

That truth is still true today.  Our monetary system has evolved from the Roman denarii to the American dollar.  Living in a capitalistic society means nearly everything we need, we get by trading currency for goods and services.  Our eleven-year-old daughter was asking for financial advice just a few days ago and we had a good discussion of ways to make money in America.  As I spoke about yesterday, being financially free should be everyone’s goal, so we do not depend on creditors to purchase things and have ample abilities to bless those truly in need.  So if everything we purchased comes from the American capitalist institution, what do we have that is God’s to give back to God?

Everything actually.  You have been blessed to be born in America, where there is relative peace (although that is being shattered each and everyday due to increasing gun violence).  America is still a land of great opportunity, so all your financial success in this country comes from the basic fact that you were born in a country where you could succeed and thrive.  And you have been blessed with whatever gift or talent God has bestowed you with to find success.  God knew you before you were ever created in your mother’s womb.  His plan for you has always been for you to thrive in this world, as long as you keep God and Jesus at the center of your world, you can never go wrong.  Your good health, your “natural” leadership qualities, your hard work ethic, all of it was programmed in you for your success.  You may not have found the right path, the right career until late in life (just like me), but that was no fault of God’s.  So when you find success, or find stability in your finances, you better not be stingy with that financial windfall.  You better be tithing that simple 10%, giving back to God what is God’s.  If you don’t want to tithe 10% to a church, then find a charity you know is doing God’s good work, and tithe your 10% to them.  But whatever you do, don’t be stingy with the success God has blessed you with.

If you are a parent, the greatest gift in life IS the miracle of life, the miracle of your children.  Raise your children in God’s forgiving grace.  Teach them about Jesus and the Gospels.  Find a church that is focused on an exciting and energetic children’s ministry.  Your children may choose to be like the Prodigal Son and walk away from the ministry for some time, but you better invest in them when they are young.  God gifted them to you, give them back to God.

Finally, just give yourself back to God.  Clear up the distractions, open up your calendar, focus on reading God’s word, experiencing the miracles of the natural world around you.  Turn off Netflix, stay off social media, spend some time in prayer and plugging into the Holy Spirit.  God gave you life, give your life back to God. 

If you feel like you can not break free from the old you, the sinning, miserable, angry, depressed you, well change your name.  Change your name “from too far gone, to saved by grace”.  Matthew West’s newest release “You Changed my Name” is a powerful reminder that the only name you need to remember is the one God gave you when He knit you together in your Mother’s womb, and that is the name of “Child of God”.  You are a beloved Child of the Creator of Everything.  A Chosen Child of God. 

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