Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I went to our mailbox to check the mail and my heart fell into my shoes when I pulled out an envelope from the IRS.  I had no idea why we would be getting mail from them.  An audit? A mistake on our tax return?  Before I had even opened the envelope all sorts of frightening possible scenarios ran through my mind.  (Not once did I imagine that the letter contained good news, such as a check owed to us!) The reality was that the I.R.S. had received a small 1099 that we had never received a copy of, which meant we had a small sum of untaxed income from a couple of years ago.  We owed the government some money.

Looking back on that incident, I realize there are many factors that contribute to my fear of the I.R.S. They are big.  They are impersonal. They don't care about me as a person. They are takers, not givers.  They rule by intimidation. They often appear to be unreasonable.  I hate being in debt to them.  It makes me feel vulnerable and at risk.  When that notice appeared in the mail, I wished some benevolent wealthy benefactor would swoop in to rescue us, but we had to pay it the old fashioned way,  by ourselves.  What a relief when we received the notice that our old debt had been paid in full.

Our enemy, satan, is much worse to deal with than the I.R.S.   He's a legalist, so he loves to keep track of every little infraction we've committed against God's law.  He makes a list and he checks it twice.  He then hammers us relentlessly with the impossibility of our ever being able to pay our debt off.  The harder we work to pay our debt off by our own works of self righteousness, the more the interest on our debt multiplies.  It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  Satan uses our list of debt to intimidate us. We cower in helplessness before him. We know that God's law says that the wages of sin is death.  We feel vulnerable, at risk, helpless.  The enemy rubs our face in our failure.  He can't be reasoned with.  He robs us of all hope, he takes and takes and takes, leaving us in debt and in despair.   

The good news is that Someone bigger, greater, kinder, and more powerful than satan has swooped in on our behalf.  Jesus has snatched that list of our debts right out of the hand of our slimy foe.  Even though the astronomical debt we owe is to Him, out of love for us, He chose to take that debt and nail it to His own cross.  Written across it is the word, cancelled, written in His own blood.    Jesus paid for our unrighteousness by living a perfectly righteous life and dying a sacrificial death on our behalf. Now we can live debt free, and there is no better feeling than that!  We can point to the cross of Jesus and to that word "cancelled" on our list of debts, whenever satan tries to bring it up to us.  Because of Jesus, our debt is paid and it truly can be well with our soul.  That is, indeed,  something to praise the Lord for.  

(These are my thoughts today on my devotions with  We are studying some of the scriptures related to truths in some of the old hymns. Join us!)

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  1. I love this idea of sin being cancelled! So tangible. Visiting from Coffee for your heart today!

  2. Love to peek inside your heart as you share truth from your quiet time. Sweet reminder of deep truth.

  3. You made me feel like I was right there with you at the mailbox, Elizabeth. Feeling all the feels about the IRS. ;)

    Seriously, though, this is a great reminder of the peace that is ours. So glad you shared it with us at Unforced Rhythms. Love to you, friend.

  4. Amen. I have those same feelings when anything from the IRS (or a few other agencies I can think of!) come in the mail. But praise be to God for His grace and love that has set us free. I am doing a Bible study around faith and God's promises. It is helping me to know Him better and better. Through this relationship growing with Him, I will be able to trust that He is handling it all as I walk with Him. It is the staying in sync with Him that seems hard, but I want to do that!
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  5. Powerful, Elizabeth~~ Love how you paralleled that letter with how the enemy tears us down.

  6. Amen. The debt is canceled! An older song says, 'He paid a debt he didn't owe - I had a debt I couldn't pay'. I'm doing the same study in shereadstruth this time. The Bible Study course I was attneding has ended and I'm finding such refreshment through the old hymns. Joining you there.

  7. Yup, got some of my own reasons for a fast heartbeat reading this post! Though I might fear the government, I'm most afraid of the enemy of my soul. He's the real IRS - Insidious, Relentless, Soul-stealer.

    Thankfully, his power is null and void. I need never fear him anymore, not in any real sense. Because my debt has been cancelled forever, he has forever been derived of his power over me.

    Amen - and amen!


  8. I'm printing your post to read to the adult Bible class (we still call it "Sunday School"!) that I facilitate on Sunday mornings. We're studying Romans and we've had some heavy conversations about grace...and about how we insist on feeling guilty about old sins that were forgiven long ago. I've read from Lucado's "The Grip of Grace" and now I'm reading from "Just Following Jesus." Thank you!

  9. Such comfort and grace in those word: "cancelled"...thank you :)

  10. Elizabeth, I really needed this reminder today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about our debt being cancelled. You are so right that the enemy tries to steal our joy and keep us in bondage (like the IRS) but we are free, free indeed, by the blood of JESUS!

  11. Just the thought of a letter from the IRS makes me start to sweat. Great example! :)


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