Saturday, December 8, 2012

Testing God

"Prosperity Preachers" or "Seed Faith" doctrine some call promotes the idea that you give to get.  A farmer plants a seed expecting a harvest...that's true, but I think they might have missed the point. 

We give, in obedience to what God actually asked us to do.  Not what you feel like, and definitely not what others think you should be doing.  Give in obedience to God, with thanksgiving for what He's given you, and TRUSTING that HE WILL PROVIDE ALL YOUR NEEDS.

I can testify to this because for the last two years God has asked us to give above our tithe to help our church build to reach the growing needs coming in to the House. 

(For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term tithe – it is 10% of the “first fruits” or for us gross income that we give to our local church to meet the needs of the church and pastors that feed us as well as pouring out to the needs of the community – a “storehouse” so to speak.  For more information – check out Robert Morris’ book “The Blessed Life” – it will rock your world!) 

At the time Scott was working so much overtime he was only home one evening every third day, and we were barely making ends meet.  But we both felt that God asked us to match our tithe amount in a second offering.  Ouch.

Since that time, Scott has worked less overtime, we have literally had less income coming in, Scott has cut our grocery budget by more than 50%, and yet somehow we have had more money.  The grocery budget has gone further – we’ve eaten better and done more in these two years than the years before we were barely scraping by, and on less.  Scott and I have grown closer to God, closer to each other, and built good relationships with our kids.

A couple of weeks ago this was really tested. 
$Net Paycheck - $tithe - $additional offering - $mortgage payment = $10

$10 my friends…yikes! We have little mouths to feed.  We need diapers and wipes.  We need gas money for Scott to get to work!

In a moment of fear we only tithed 10% of our net paycheck.  But that night we were both convicted; we really felt that this was a test – did we really believe that God would provide for us if we obeyed Him? 

God even says that we can test Him in the tithe (Malachi 3:10), that if we obey Him in this that He will pour out on us.
Well…we did.  And literally, all that weekend things we have had listed for sale for months sold in two days – one right after another (we tithed on those too ;).  We were able to make a two hour trip away to visit family.  We made a meal for friends.  And we never even ate roman noodles – we actually had no food go to waste because we ate our leftovers, and they were good.  And we always had cash in our pockets and gas in our vehicles – lights on, heater on, etc.
No, we did not win the half a billion jackpot - although that seemed like really great timing, but God provided for us; He poured out on us, and not just financially, in relationship, in abundance of energy, in abundance of hope and joy, and in renewal of faith.

“Prosperity preachers” as they are called, will tell you that you must give a lot so that God can make you rich.  But sometimes I think they might have mixed up this scripture with their own desire for wealth.  I don’t see that scripturally. 

But that also doesn't mean that God wants us to be poor - He says that we will have an abundance for every good work and that the joy of the Lord is our strength and joy is a fruit of the spirit.  We are not called to a life of poverty. I know both in scripture and my own experience that when you obey what God tells you to do, that He will provide for your needs and give you back things of much more worth than just money in the bank.  He is able to do more than we can ask or imagine.  He is in love with us, and when we obey Him, He will make us whole, healed, and fill us with greater joy than we have ever known.

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