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    • By 1Timothy115 in Devotionals
         11
      Psalms 119:1-8                                         Sep. 5 - Oct. 2, 2019
      1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
      2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
      3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
      4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
      7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
      8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
      The following verse stood out to me...
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      At first glance it seemed to me this person’s soul is poured out with intense desire to have God’s direction in keeping His Word.
      I made a small wood fire in our backyard for my granddaughter, Julia, since she would be staying overnight with us. My wife and Julia stayed outside at the fire for about half an hour. Then, I found myself alone to watch the fire die out on a particularly lovely evening. So I took my verse from above and began to repeat it for memorization. As I repeated the verse, I tried to contemplate the words and apply them to what I was seeing around me. 
      The moon and stars were out now peering through the scattered clouds above.
      [Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.]
      Thought 1         
      The moon has stayed his course since the day God created him, also the stars, obeying the statutes directed by God from the first day they were created. Can you imagine God’s direction to the Moon and stars, “moon you will have a path through the sky above the earth, stars you will occupy the firmament above the moon and be clearly visible in the cloudless night sky.”
      Then, the trees, grass, even the air we breathe obey the statues God gave them from the beginning. None of these creations have souls, none have hearts, none have intelligence, but they all observe God’s statutes, His instructions for their limited time on earth.
      Thought 2
      What if we were like the moon, stars, trees, grass, or the other creations which have no soul? We would be directed to keep God’s statutes without choosing to keep them. This is not the image of God, there would be no dominion over other creatures, or over the earth. We would not be capable of experiencing the joy and peace of learning the love of God
      Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
      Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Thought 3 (October 2, 2019)
      Is the psalmist pleading God to force God’s statutes to become the man’s ways? No, he is speaking of his own failure in keeping God’s statutes and his desire to keep them, very much like Paul in Romans 7:14-25.
      God doesn’t work through force to turn men from their ways that they would desire His statutes or desire God Himself. Men must reject (repent) put aside his own ways and voluntarily seek God and His statutes.

Should Christians Claim Tax Deductions for Charitable Giving?

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NotAshamed
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So, recently I began pondering whether Christians should claim a tax deduction for charitable giving, meaning specifically to your local church or other Christ-centered ministry.  I don’t mean to suggest it’s wrong, per se.  More, I wonder if “we have our reward”, so to speak via the tax deduction.

I don’t really have much of an opinion; I’m still pondering this through.

What do y’all think?

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Only if they are itemizing. I always took the "standard deduction" as my items were always less than the standard. However, all Americans, not just Christians, should deduct everything they legally can, so that they then can have as much of their own money as possible to disperse as they feel led. No if someone wants to give more of their hard earned money to the government, well that is their prerogative, though, in my opinion, a foolish one.

Edited by John Young
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Well, we give, then we deduct from taxes and (if we have given enough) we get a refund on our giving, effectively getting back part of our gift to God. I would do so only if we calculate that and give that part of our return to the Lord, as well. 

So if I have given, say, $10k to the church over the year, and receive a deduction of, maybe $1k, that 1K should go to the church, NOT recorded for tax purposes, just a gift. 

In my ever-so-humble opinion, of course.

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As to the issue of whether or not they “have their reward”, are doing it “to be seen of men”? Probably not, only 2-4 people are likely to know (unless they use an accountant or are audited.) If they do as one man I knew of many years ago who had his check sticking out of his shirt pocket with the dollar figure (on the right side of the check) visible as he shook hands around the church (of over 1000 people) - well, he already received his reward!

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
7 hours ago, OLD fashioned preacher said:

of whether or not they “have their reward”,

I think someone who goes extremely paranoid to the point that they must hid everything they do for or give to God for fear someone might see it and praise them and thereby "steal their rewards", thinks too much of themselves and in a way also has their reward in their ability to hid their christian works.

We shouldn't worry about what others see us give or what they see us do. We should however so shine that when they do see those deeds that we do they will turn and praise God.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Edited by John Young
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