“God’s Plan For The Fullness Of Time” (John 19: 11, ESV) by Carley Evans

Pontius Pilate declares he has authority to condemn or free Jesus. Jesus answers, “You have no authority over Me at all unless it is given you from above.”

After hearing this statement, Pilate “seeks to release him.” The Jews, however, cry out against Jesus, claiming He is opposing Caesar’s rule. They demand Jesus’ crucifixion. The chief priests say, “We have no king but Caesar.” So, Pilate “delivers [Jesus] over to them to be crucified.” (John 19: 12, 15, 16) This is not Pilate’s desire. He wishes to free Jesus, as his wife warns that this man is holy and not to be touched. Pilate, despite his best intentions, relents — going along with the will of the crowd before him.

God holds all authority in heaven and on earth. No one has power over His purposes; no one succeeds against Him.

Even Satan seeks God’s permission to afflict us.

God asks Satan, “From where have you come?” (Job 2: 2) Satan responds that he has roamed “to and fro on the earth.” (Job 2: 2) God invites Satan to consider Job, a true servant of the Lord — a man of integrity who turns from evil “although you incite Me against him to destroy him without reason.” (Job 2: 3)

Without reason? — God destroys Job without reason?

Of course, Job’s friends maintain Job has sinned against God and this is the reason he is being destroyed. Job’s wife says it is God’s caprice, and strongly suggests that Job curse God and just go ahead and die!

God says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38: 2 – 4)

Essentially, Jesus says the same to Pilate. “Who are you that you think you have any authority at all over Me?”

Many respond to this truth like Job’s wife — falsely believing God “destroys without reason.” Others, perhaps only a few, know that God controls every moment in time, every motion in space. All is done with His knowledge; all is within His purposes. And all His purposes are good, perfect.

And this “is the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1: 9 – 10)

“Tax Helps Other People!” (Romans 13: 6, ESV) by Carley Evans

Paul says, “Pay to all what is owed them: taxes to whom taxes are owed.” (Romans 13: 7)

I don’t know anyone who likes to pay tax. Sales tax is up; property tax is high; income tax seems unfair. Our taxes pay for services we don’t support. Our taxes pay for benefits for other people!

Paul reminds us that a government worker works full-time for us. He or she is in the public service, and deserves to be supported financially. Our tax pays the salaries of government workers! Paul writes, “For [the government authority] is God’s servant for your good.” (Romans 13: 4)

Taxes pay for hospitals, schools, roads, police, firefighters, emergency personnel, judges, national guardsmen, military personnel and services, mayors, governors, congressmen, presidents and White House staffs. Taxes pay for wasteful spending on occasion, too. Taxes also pay for the health-care and welfare of those who are unemployed or in our country illegally. Taxes help other people!

“For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.” (Romans 13: 6)

Jesus says, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22: 21)