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Sometimes you cannot afford the free gift!

You win!! Or do you really lose? Gambling is big business. Many people visit casinos, enter sweepstakes, or bet on sporting events. Others go to television game shows that give away tantalizing gifts like vacations, boats, and cars. Some actually win a prize and are very happy until they are confronted with the taxes due on the winnings.

It is my understanding that people who win those prizes will have to pay federal taxes, state taxes in the state where they received the gift, and in the state they reside. It is quite possible that a $30,000 car will cost approximately $9000 in taxes. It’s a good deal if you have the ready cash to invest.

Further, if you win a large amount of cash, it may push you into a higher tax bracket where all of your income is charged at an elevated rate. Winning big could necessitate hiring professional tax consultants to figure out what is now a very complicated tax return. Of course, the eyes of the IRS will be watching that you dot every “i” and cross every “t.” Not to mention all those long-lost relatives who show up at the door.

Indeed, you may not be able to afford the “free gift.”

As a pastor, our church was occasionally offered a “free” house, car, bus, commercial generator, or other unsolicited items. The board considered each “gift” to decide if we could afford it. A house requires maintenance, repairs, security, lawn care, supervision, utilities, HOA compliance, and so much more. Rarely did someone want to give the church something that was in “ready” condition. The question was: can we afford this “free gift?”

Did you know that Satan offers you “free gifts,” too? It’s true. However, because he is perverted and corrupt, the cost of his gifts is extremely high. Satan cannot create anything except mayhem and havoc. However, he can contaminate something God has made and offer it to you in a warped condition.

Lucifer means “light bearer” (Isaiah 14:12). As an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), Satan brings perverted enlightenment into certain situations as his “gift.” Consider the sad story of the corruption of Adam and Eve. Since Satan is a thief and not a true giver, Satan offered the forbidden fruit that was not his to give. By giving Eve the gift of selfish envy and covetousness, she began to doubt that God was looking out for her best interest.

Then, true to the Word of God, the works of this evil “light bearer” enlightened Adam and Eve that they were naked. Before this perverted revelation, they had no shame. But after accepting Satan’s “free gifts,” they saw their nakedness as shameful, and covered it with leaves. Satan’s “free gifts” were just too expensive for them.

A word for the wise: God’s gifts will bless you, but Satan’s gifts will corrupt you. Satan even approached Jesus with the offer of “free gifts” in Matthew 4. There is no doubt that Satan will make too-good-to-be true offers to you, also. Remember 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV), “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Better yet, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you!” (James 4:7 ESV)

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