Eventually, You Will Do This…

man-1394395_960_720  Connor had a dilemma on his hands. He took on a side job, helping someone with a building project. It wasn’t his normal line of work; he normally worked in a small company in shipping and receiving. But his dad was a building contractor and Connor had grown up in the business so he knew a thing or two about construction; and it wasn’t unusual for him to take on a few small side jobs; a little trim work here or there, perhaps. But this job was bigger, much bigger.

He wouldn’t have taken the job at all, but it was for a friend’s parents and it was originally going to be just a small addition. But one thing led to another and it turned into a much larger project. Nothing Connor couldn’t handle, though, and even working only evenings and weekends he managed to complete the work quickly enough to earn a bonus on top of his original quote. And just like that, Connor suddenly had a lot of cash in his bank account.

But when tax time came, Connor didn’t feel he should have to pay taxes on the money he earned from his side project. He had worked for cash, after all. And he had given up his nights and weekends for more than three straight months. Talking it over with Peter, his friend and coworker, Connor put it this way, “It’s my money. I earned it. I deserve to keep it. Besides, I spent most of it on that new truck of mine and the rest I put down on my house.”

“But it’s the government, Connor, they have ways of knowing these things,” Peter pointed out

“They sure do,” chimed in Sally, who couldn’t help but overhear the conversation.

And, indeed, the government did know about the extra money he had earned. They knew in two ways; the couple he had done the work for filed forms claiming tax deductions for the energy savings they would realize from the project; listing Connor as the contractor, of course. And financial records indicated that Connor could not afford his fifty-thousand-dollar new truck on his meager income as a shipping and receiving clerk.

So while Connor firmly and sincerely believed he should not have to pay taxes on this side project, the law said he did and the government soon sent him a letter stating just how much tax they calculated he owed, plus a small fine for paying late. But Connor ignored the letter, being so firm in his belief that he did not owe them a thing.

He eventually received another piece of correspondence from the government, this one a bit more emphatic than the last. The fine was bigger this time, too, raising the total he owed to a truly eye-opening amount. And again, despite the warnings of his coworkers and friends, Connor ignored the letter, sure that he did not owe them a thing.  And then something happened that Connor could not ignore. He went to buy groceries after work and his card was rejected. And when he went out to his shiny new truck, it was being hauled away on a flatbed.

Having called Peter for a ride, he arrived at home and found the notice on his door. The government had seized his home and all its contents. And as he sat down on the stoop in utter shock, the federal officers arrived with a warrant for his arrest. At least the jail would be someplace warm to spend the night. Turns out, tax evasion is a pretty serious offense, and though Connor didn’t believe it, he was now in the throes of some rather harsh consequences.

And so we see, despite Connor’s firmly held belief to the contrary, he was guilty of tax evasion and there was a penalty to be paid. In his case it was a severe one, and his disbelief didn’t in anyway change that reality. And so it is when it comes to Jesus, what we believe or don’t believe doesn’t change reality at all. Many people choose disbelief, ignoring the historical reality depicted in the Bible and rejecting the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. This isn’t all that surprising, actually, for Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

But the reality is that you will acknowledge Jesus is Lord, whether you choose to do it now, willingly, or later, posthumously. For God has told us that He “gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

We all inherently know we are not perfect, that we have done wrong. Our conscious convicts us of that fact, whether we will admit it to others or not. We are being disingenuous if we deny this. And there is a penalty to be paid for our wrongs, whether we want to admit it or not. But if we walk through the small gate and accept the redemptive work of Jesus, our penalty is paid in full. Are you ready to take the narrow road?

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Labor Day

Labor Day   Labor Day is a national tribute to the contributions American workers have made to the strength and well-being of our country. The origins of Labor Day can be traced back to a celebration first held in New York City in 1882. There is a bit of debate over who actually first proposed the Labor Day holiday; some records show that Patrick McGuire, a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was the first to suggest the holiday, while others believe it was Michael McGuire who proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

While the actual founder of the Labor Day holiday may be unclear, what is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a celebration and picnic in 1882. It was originally held on a Tuesday but, in 1884, the Central Labor Union proposed holding the holiday on a Monday and urged similar organizations in other cities to also celebrate. Over time more municipalities and states began to adopt the celebration but it wasn’t until June of 1894 that Congress finally made it a national holiday. It has been celebrated on the first Monday in September ever since.

In addition to being a recognition of the American worker, Labor Day is also the first obvious sign that fall is coming. Here in Minnesota, another sure sign of fall is the conclusion of the Minnesota State Fair, which also happens on the first Monday in September. The beginning of the NFL’s new season is another indicator that summer has passed and fall has come. Upon returning to work after the Labor Day holiday we are sure to hear water cooler discussions about NFL roster cuts, fantasy football drafts, and predictions of how our home team might do.

Another telltale signal of fall’s impending arrival is the gradual color change that is already beginning in some foliage. Within a week or two you will notice the color change as you travel around during your daily activities, if you’re not seeing it already. It won’t be but a few weeks and the rakes and light jackets will be out in full force and fall activities such as pumpkin carving and fall color drives will be on our weekend agendas.

For me personally, September marks the anniversary of my conversion to Christianity many years ago. I had attended a men’s event at Evergreen Community Church where the pastors and speakers shared their conversion stories and it was there that I first realized that Christians weren’t perfect people; they were individuals just like me who had accumulated a lifetime of regrets and mistakes and were in desperate need of forgiveness. The only difference was that they had found that forgiveness and I had not. I cannot begin to explain the impact four hours of such testimony had on me.

With my head full and my heart twisted, I left that event not really knowing where I was going or why. Unsure of what to do or what to think, I just got in my car and started driving. Soon I found myself at a bookstore where I purchased a paperback Bible for $4.99 and the next thing I knew, I was sitting on a rock at Taylor’s Falls (a beautiful place on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border) overlooking the river valley as I started reading God’s Word for the very first time. Freed from my misconceptions of what a Christian is, the words in my little paperback Bible touched my heart in a new and meaningful way. Starting that day I read the Bible as much as I could.

Just a couple weeks later, in mid-September, I found myself alone in my apartment when the reality of my situation came over me. I was newly sober (just over two years at the time) and besides the elimination of drugs and alcohol from my life, not much else had changed. I was continuing to live a life I could not be proud of, and deep inside I was not a happy person. And through God’s Word I was learning that all throughout history, men just like me had found themselves in the very same place, in the very same dire need of forgiveness.

And it was then and there that I fell to my knees and I prayed and released my guilt, remorse, and regret to the only One who has the true power to forgive, Jesus Christ. And in that very moment, all those years ago, I became a Christian; a new creation. The old had gone and the new had come. I was reborn and had found true recovery at last. I was a Christian; a child of God. Life has been far from perfect in the intervening years, but the deep and ingrained joy of knowing Christ has guided me, informed me, and comforted me.

Are you feeling the need for forgiveness? Is this fall the time for you to experience the cleansing and healing that can only come from the One who died so that you might live? The Bible says in Romans 10: “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart. And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (Romans 10:8-11, NLT).

And in Hebrews 4 it is written, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NIV). It’s often hard for us to imagine, but Jesus walked this planet just like we do now, and He experienced life as we know it. This is why He is so accessible to those who seek Him, so I pray you will let today be the day that you come to Jesus and find His forgiveness and perfect love.

If we can help answer any of your questions, please do not hesitate to write us at ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com. And as we prepare for the changing of the seasons, may God bless you and keep you.

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