Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cash Flow

In the past year, we've learned more about trusting God in the area of money than ever before. I learned another lesson this weekend that God really does order what he pays for.

In Malachi 3, God invites us to test Him in the area of tithing. In other words, He will provide for our monetary needs when we're giving Him the first 10 percent and whatever else He tells us to give.

My friend Norman said that whenever he speaks in other churches, he always puts something in the offering so he can invest in that ministry. As I was pulling into Starbucks (thank you Jesus for Sunday nights at River Stone) early Sunday morning before preaching twice at Grand Parkway in Sugar Land, I remembered the words of my friend. I immediately began to feel convicted about investing in their ministry, but the battle raged in my mind that we can't really afford it. We're about to buy a house, and we need every extra penny we can get. Then the words, "test me in this" echoed in my head. I used my debit card to buy my venti caramel latte, and got some cash back for the offering at Grand Parkway. Then it occurred to me that there were two services, and I wanted to contribute in each service, so I went to buy a pack of gum so I could get some change. I was going to put ten bucks in each service. Well, the only checkout lane that was open was the self-checkout and there was no one around. I've never used cash at the self-checkout. So, I put in my $20 for my $1.05 gum. When my change came out, instead of there being $18.95 there was $23.95. Again, what do I do? There's no one around, and I'm running late. I decided this transaction was providence and that I would drop it in the offering plate. You probably would've hunted down a manger and told him the story of the machine making an error and had him stuff the money back in the machine. I took this as an act of justice for all of the times the self-checkout has ruined my day. Anyway, stop judging me and read on ...

So, I got to the church and put on the mic and some guys wanted to pray for me. These guys were older and wiser than me, men who have served the Lord for a long time who take great delight in asking God to do great things in worship that day. After convincing one of them that I really was the guy who was preaching that day ... they laid hands on me, and I felt the thermostat in the room elevate to "Holy Spirit is Here". It was amazing. The Lord was answering their prayers, and it was beautiful. When we were done praying, one of the men put something in my pocket. He said, "I made a little extra money this week, and while we were praying God told me to give it to you." I told him thanks, and thanked Jesus that His Word is true and does not return void. This is the kind of stuff that never happened to me until recently, and now it happens all the time. A dinner here, a reimbursement at just the right time, a rebate in the knick of time, a servant with an extra Benjamin. It makes it a lot easier to write that tithe check every week in order to continue to receive the blessing and provision of God. Thank you, Jesus, and thank you again Norman for your continual teaching. It goes on even when you go back to the UK.

My challenge is to test God in the area of finances. Read Malachi 3 if you have any questions. God Bless.

3 Comments:

Blogger carahinojosa said...

I love that passage of scripture.

I believe that what it says will happen. I believe that it is true. I have experienced it time and time again.

And yet...the battle between flesh and spirit wages with every paycheck we get.

Will I ever learn?

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other side of the giving thing that I am learning is that not only does God provide what we need as we strive to obey his 10% command, but as we obey it gets a little easier each month to let go of that money. What I have found now is that not only is it easier to let go of what was never mine to begin with, but that he's given me the resources to give greater and greater. We have found ourselves hearing of a need that is above and beyond our tithe and we can't wait to fulfill it! As we have been more willing to give, God has given us more and more to give FROM. And, it's a great feeling!

We aren't perfect, by any means and there are those weeks when I look at my debt and think, "Boy, this money could make a huge dent in that...." However, I continue to believe that as we are more responsible for what He's already given to us, He will continue to meet and surpass our needs!

How great is our God??????? :)

Sherry VB

5:45 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

THANK YOU JESUS!!!

2:04 AM  

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