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  My Witness

Vol. 16, No. 1, January, 2011

From the Editor
Sr. Jan Nattermann, S.N.C.

Sister Jan Continuing our look at PALE GAS, the acronym for the seven Capital sins of Pride, Avarice (greed), Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Anger, and Sloth--in this issue we are on ENVY.

Envy is the unhappy feeling or distress at someone else's success, good fortune, qualities or possessions. From envy can come anger, hatred, persecution, bitterness, suspicion, malice, ill-will, etc.

Envy proceeds from pride, where we desire to be something we are not or we think that we are better than we are. The envious person fails to realize that all things that happen to us are allowed by God for our correction and our greater good, for our best interest. We should meditate on this truth, daily, as a help to fight against envy.

Try to recognize that each person's talents and possessions are a gift to them from God. Prayer and accepting God's will and doing good to and for others will, in time, dissolve our inclination to envy.

The prophecy of Isaiah chapter 45, shows us how much the Lord loves his people -- he will do anything for the sake of his people, Israel. He even chooses a pagan, Cyrus, to carry out his work for the sake of his people. In verse 1 the Lord calls Cyrus "his anointed" and says that he has grasped his right hand in order to subdue nations before him and to open doors that gates may not be closed.

Maybe you're thinking, how can this be? How can the Lord choose to work with some-one, choose as a servant, someone who doesn't even know him -- and who certainly does not love or worship him?

In this powerful prophecy, the Lord proclaims that he is in charge! He is the only God there is! He says, "I am the LORD, there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me, that men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other."

Now, why does the LORD choose a pagan, Cyrus? The Lord tells us in the prophecy that he chooses Cyrus for the sake of his chosen people, Israel, his servant. The LORD loves his people --- he will do the impossible for them:

"For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me" (verse 4).
The LORD reigns, not just over his chosen servant Israel, the Jewish nation, but over all people, every nation -- the LORD reigns over the world!

Now, in Matthew's Gospel, chapter 22, we find the Pharisees looking for a way to entangle Jesus in his talk; looking for a way to trip Jesus up in his speech so as to discredit him in the eyes of the people. They see that serving God and paying taxes to the Romans, creates a conflict and will put Jesus in a trap from he can't escape. If the LORD rules the world, then is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar? Why pay taxes to Caesar if the one in charge is God, the LORD? So they send their disciples to Jesus with deceit in their hearts, and false words on their lips, saying,

"Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? (verses 16, 17).
Jesus was aware of their malice and wasted no time in telling them what he thought:
"Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax. ... And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, 'Whose likeness and inscription is this?' They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's' " (verses 18-21).
Caesar does not own the people, he minted the money -- give him what is his. But the people of every nation, every person, belongs to God -- he created them, he sent his Son Jesus to save them, to give them his life, his Spirit. Jesus came for all of us, everyone!

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