March 21

Deuteronomy 4:39-40 (NIV) 39Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.

Moses reminded the people of the ways in which God had made Himself known to them. Then he spoke these verses. I believe God has shown each person reading this devotional a revelation of Himself. It is because He has drawn each of us uniquely that we are responsible to acknowledge and take to heart that the LORD is God in heaven above and earth below. There is no other! There should be no valid competitor for our allegiance. There should be no usurpers to His lordship over our lives. If we are bowing to anything else, in any way, we are not rendering to God the response He deserves. Is there "no other" god in your life? Take that to heart this day.

The enemy of our soul would love to distort the reason God directs and instructs us, just as he did in the Garden of Eden. God wants us to keep His instructions "so that it may go well with you and your children". In the Old Testament, the Spirit was not indwelling believers. That made generalized rules necessary as standards of conduct and health. Today the Spirit indwells every believer to instruct us specifically in every situation, "so that it may go well with you and your children". God can do His work without you, but He wants to include you to bless you and your children. Many of us have fallen prey to the enemy's lie in the Garden and think God wants uninformed slaves.

Consider: Acknowledge that the heart of God, in instructing and leading you by the Spirit, is to bless you and your children. You will be much more excited about obeying His voice.

March 21

Matthew 22:19-21 (NIV) 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" 21"Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

The religious leaders sent some of their students along with some of the government supporters to try to trap Jesus. First they buttered Him up with some high praise. Then they asked a tricky question. Jesus saw right through their flattery to their real nature. He called them actors. Then He asked a question that should have struck the heart of anyone that may have been serious about their relationship with God. Why are you trying to trap me? He's asking them to check the motivation of their hearts.

The question they asked was clever because almost any answer would offend some of His followers. If He says to pay the taxes, the zealot nationalists would be offended. If He says to refuse to pay them, those who support the government would have reason to arrest Him. He answered by first asking for a coin. "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" The coins bore the image of Caesar. So Jesus said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." The things of the world are only temporal. Obey the authorities and give them your temporal obligations. The allegiance of the heart is what is important. Give your heart, soul, mind and strength to God. In that answer, rich with wisdom, Jesus completely silenced them. He could have said, "Checkmate"! They were fighting over the temporal that did not matter in the long run. He was establishing a kingdom in the hearts of men that will last forever.

Dear reader, where is your focus? Are you concerned about where your coins go or to Whom your whole being belongs? It is amazing how Jesus can take our trick questions and turn them around to reveal the very motivations of our hearts.

Remember: When the world questions us, seek Godly wisdom through prayer before you answer.