10-25-21 Effective Finances: Be Amazed

Hi Friends,

     As with everything else in this fallen life, God’s economy and ours are completely opposite from one another. We humans think when we want something, we must hold on to it tightly. But God says, if you really want it, give it away. Listen to this verse:

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Mal 3:10 NIV

     Give. The very first instruction God put on my heart, after I became born again, was to obey His command to tithe. Being a brand new Christian, without many others around me to guide me, I clearly sensed God’s Voice deep within me saying, “I want you to give,” but I did not know exactly how to do that. I know that sounds strange, but God and I had come up with a dollar amount I felt He wanted us to donate to various organizations, but the problem was, this happened in October, with no reserves in our bank accounts to use to fill this command. Also, I had stopped working myself, so that I could be with my Baby Girl as she endured the challenges she had to go through. We still had our regular bills to pay too, of course, so God’s order was going to take some “creative financing,” as they say. So no cash reserves, limited ways to make extra income, normal obligations and a hefty amount to give away so I could be obedient to our Lord. Now you can understand what I meant by, “I did not know exactly how to do that”! But I made a commitment to God and was determined to obey Him. This was my first act of Faith, as a New Child of God. I knew if God did not help us, there was no way, by ourselves, we would be able to fulfill this tithe. 

     God really does work in mysterious ways! A couple of months later, we had just come home from yet another doctor’s appointment, when we heard the sound of water flowing somewhere in our home. Joe quickly inspected our home and discovered that the water line from our refrigerator had burst and our newly renovated basement was flooded! My first reaction was, “Seriously, Lord! We are not going through enough that You just had to allow another problem into our lives!” This is the mentality of a very immature Christian, by the way. As we grow in Christ, we begin to learn that, if God is allowing it, there is a good purpose to it. So we called our insurance, they came and inspected, and a couple of months later, handed us a check…wait for it…for almost the exact amount we had left in fulfilling our tithe towards God’s Kingdom! This was a test though. Would we use these unexpected funds to honor God or would we use them to do other things we wanted to do to improve our home? By God’s Grace, Joe and I were in complete agreement and we gave it all away where the Holy Spirit led us to give the funds. I can’t make this stuff up! When we sincerely choose to trust God and really desire to obey Him, He will most definitely work with us to provide so we CAN obey Him. What a very generous God!

      Another miraculous blessing. If you are not yet convinced, let me share another story that happened in our lives. It had been probably five years into Beckie’s trial at this point when we were desperate for a van to be able to transport her to all the doctor and therapy appointments she had. She was in a special wheelchair at this point, and we had been physically picking her up, placing her in a special car seat, then rolling the wheelchair into the back of a van we had been given (note: we had been given this van, another blessing!), but our backs were starting to feel the stress of doing this. So I began to pray something like, “Lord, we really need a special van, with a lift, so that we do not end up injuring ourselves, because then we cannot be any help to her. You know we don’t have $45,000 just sitting around for this, so I am trusting You to help us with this need. Amen.” A couple of weeks later, I was driving her back from therapy when I saw this little lawn sign advertising about some kind of car auction our township was going to have the following week. I told Joe about it and encouraged him to go take a look at the inventory to see if there just might be a van we could customize for Beckie. Joe agreed and went to check it out…again, I cannot make this stuff up, my Friends! By God’s Grace, and only by His Grace, there was a big van, already fully equipped with a lift for wheelchairs there! We were awed and amazed! Not really knowing what the procedure was for this auction, Joe went back anyway and put in a bid. Again by God’s Grace, we won the bid and we had our van for about $11,000, of which an organization agreed to pay almost the whole thing for us! Tell me this had nothing to do with our obedience in tithing all those years, and I will gladly inform you that you don’t really know the power of God’s principles. When we choose, freely and willingly, to obey, He always honors our surrendered heart.

     Double your gift. Want one more example? Ok, listen to this one. There was a time during Beckie’s trials when we were expanding our home to make it more wheelchair, and Beckie friendly, so we could care for her needs more fully. We were told about this Catastrophic Illness Fund for children who have gone through horrific things, such as Beckie. A doctor from the hospital she unfortunately regularly was admitted to, was the chairperson, and after some major mess up we endured at that hospital, which I will not get into here, he assured us that this fund would pay up to $100,000 for us to be able to renovate our home to better help Beckie with her needs. And so we decided to make the addition to our home, with an elevator so we did not have to carry her up and down the stairs anymore. She was a lot bigger now, and again, our backs, not to mention the safety of carrying her and the chair up and down, was a great concern for us. How can we keep doing this and stay healthy enough ourselves to care for her and our son, Joshua? This doctor said that we would have to put out all the money first, but then this organization would grant us the amount we spent afterwards. And so, trusting this man, we went full steam ahead with the plans. Here’s a good lesson for all of us, don’t put your trust in mere man, especially when they are just bureaucrats for a big company. But more on that later. It just so happened that, while we were involved in this major DYI project, an out of town Gospel group came to our church. Being from a poorer neighborhood, this group travels about, to raise funds to do the good work their church does. Out of my gratitude of how God had been providing for us all those years…and seriously all our lives, right?!… I had it in my heart to donate a rather generous amount, when I clearly sensed the Holy Spirit whisper in my heart, “Double it.” My first reaction was to say, “What?! This is already such a generous amount…” but I quickly stopped and added, “…but if You say so, Lord, then I will obey.” Again, God had always provided for our needs, so why would I not trust Him now?

     Double the blessing. After we finished the project, I filled out the pile of paperwork required to receive the funding. Again, trusting what that doctor/chairman had said, I was not overly concerned with the major debt we now took on to make our home more manageable to care for Beckie. That is until I spoke to the woman in charge of our case! She told me that people are only eligible for a maximum of $25,000, no where near the $100,000 that was promised. I explained to her what doctor so-and-so had said, but she said, sorry that is not true. Imagine that!?! Not that we had any plans to do so, but this doctor was trying to avoid a lawsuit about what that hospital had done to us, and so he claimed something that was not true? Again, imagine that, he actually lied! Wow. I was devastated, of course, because now we had this huge debt we had to deal with…and so, unintentionally, I broke down on the phone and began to cry. This woman, God bless her and thank You for providing her, was one of the few people I dealt with throughout Beckie’s trials that actually had compassion. She asked me how long it took to do the project, and between sobs I told her about 7 months. Then she asked if we did it all in the same year, and I said no we started in October of one year, then ended in the next. So this is what she said…wait for it…because the project took two different calendar years, we can double the funds! Did you get that? Way back when God prompted me to double my gift, here was God saying I will double your blessing! One last time, I cannot make this stuff up! This was a huge help in paying down the debt we incurred. No, it didn’t pay it all, but it paid well over half! My Friends, being obedient to tithing is for our benefit, not even so much for those we are helping. 

     Tithing tests our heart. If we truly are grateful for all that God has blessed us with, here and especially forevermore, then we should naturally desire to give a portion back to Him. God commands 10% and allows us to keep 90%. Have you ever looked at it this way? And if you are allowing the enemy to hiss in your ear, “Well, how can you have enough for yourself if you are giving it all away?” I pray that these three examples, of which there are so, so many more I could share, will dismiss that lie once and for all. God is an extremely generous God. The truth is, we can never out give Him. Sowing and reaping is a real thing here. It may not be apples for apples, but when we sincerely just want to be a blessing, similarly to the way we have already been blessed? Then as the verse above promises, God will open up the floodgates and repay us in ways that are so very precious. This has definitely been my experience. Want it too? Then won’t you join me?

     Until we meet again, keep lifting your eyes to God, He’s closer than you think.

<>< Peace, Diane

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