Two things I asked of You. Do not refuse me before I die:
(1) Keep deception and lies far from me,
(2) Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?"
Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God. - Proverbs 30: 7-9
So many people write to me asking for prayer about their personal finances. Many are over their heads, at the end of their rope, and just don't know what to do, so now they are asking for prayer.
How often do we wait until we have no other resources except God before we come to Him? For that reason, I look at financial problems as a blessing and an opportunity of drawing people closer to God in their relationship with Him.
I wrote this article in response to a person who was asking for prayer about their finances, not from the perspective of a financial consultant, but as someone who has experienced the humiliation of declaring bankruptcy, not once, but twice! Yes, I'm a slow learner and it has taken a long time to learn the lessons, but I offer them to you now as one who has experienced what it's like to be in desperate financial crises, but also as one who has learned to make the necessary lifestyle changes to survive, and to totally trust in God for ALL my needs.
You know that we have already discussed this by email and I've told you how I feel about personal finances and tithing, so my prayer for you would be that those who are praying for you would pray that you get your priorities right, which means putting God first in ALL things, including your money.
It has been my experience that it is easiest to tithe if you do it without thinking, as soon as you get your paycheque. So write that cheque (and remember to write it in your chequebook so you don't bounce it) or take that cash out of the bank IMMEDIATELY, and put it in an envelope. Put the envelope away, and don't touch it until it's time to hand it over. Remember that God wants your first fruits, not your leftovers - or your "no leftovers" as seems to be the case. That tithe is God's. It is not yours to spend, even on a bill.
It seems so difficult for so many people to tithe, but I think that this is a real opportunity for you to see how God can work in your life IF you give Him FIRST place with everything, especially your money. Since you don't have enough to pay all the bills anyway, then why not give God what is due Him and then see what happens?
When my husband and I became Christians, we started tithing right away, but God did not relieve us of our responsibilities for the mistakes that we had been making, which involved self-indulgance, instant gratification and greed. We had to go through a terrible bankruptcy, which was so humiliating, but we still tithed, even our welfare cheques when my husband couldn't get a job, and within a year, my husband got his "dream job" and we were able to buy a brand new house without even needing a co-signer.
Now who ever heard of anyone being unemployed, declaring bankruptcy, and then becoming a home-owner within the year? It just doesn't happen! The bankruptcy stays on your credit record for seven years, but God did some really creative banking and we were able to buy a brand new, five bedroom house. (Actually it was a four bedroom house when we moved in, but I'm a renovator, and it didn't take me long to make it five bedrooms). It was just a basic house, but it had a bedroom for each of the kids and we lived there for 18 years.
God is a worker of miracles, but you have to learn to trust, and trusting means acting without the knowledge of the outcome. Just know that God wants to give you the desires of your heart, but you may have to go through some rough times before you are able to appreciate how He works in your life. Just remember that ultimately "All things work together for good, for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28.
If you are called according to His purpose and are living your life with God in charge, then trust Him to care for you. If that means declaring bankruptcy or having to move to a smaller place, or getting a second job, or whatever, know that God will give you the support that you need. He may provide a really good deal for you on a new place to live, or He may make your car go further on each tank of gas. God is a worker of miracles and He will never ask you to bear more than you are able, but He probably is not going to just lift you out of your troubles either.
In most cases, it is the choices that we made that got us into this situation, and we need to take responsibility for those choices. But the good news is that tomorrow is always a new day, and with God on your side, you know that ultimately things are going to be good IF God holds His rightful position in your life.
I speak from experience. God has worked so many miracles in my life regarding caring for me when I had nothing, that I am writing a book about it. God will do the same for you. This is the opportunity of a lifetime! God is available to you if you want Him, but be prepared that it isn't going to happen overnight. You need to put God first in your life, including your tithes, for however long it takes you to learn the lessons of trust.
I believe that once the lesson is learned and becomes a reality for you on a permanent basis, that you will start to see miracles happening. The sooner the lessons are learned, the sooner you can move on. If you don't learn the lessons, be prepared to stay in the situation. God wants to refine you into pure gold and that only happens in the valleys. We don't learn the lessons on the mountaintops.
If it sounds like I've got it all together re tithing, don't be fooled. God has given me the gift of generosity, and tithing money for me is a real joy. I get great pleasure out of giving, and it has never been a problem for me, but as I was doing my devotions this morning, I was realizing that I totally struggle with tithing my time. I really have to make myself set aside the time to do my daily devotions.
I am a really hyperactive old broad who has trouble sitting still, so I don't even watch movies on TV. I just can't sit still that long, so to take the time to stop and pray and study the Word requires great discipline from me. It does not come easily, and yet, I know that if I don't spend that time with God each day, where I am totally in His Presence and without distraction, then I drift spiritually.
Oh I talk to God all day long, but it's not the same thing as setting time aside to do devotions, so perhaps while I pray for you to learn to tithe your money, you could be praying for me to learn to better tithe my time.
I would appreciate it if you would let me know if you've used it. Thanks!
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