Wednesday, February 22, 2012

He says, "Test Me in this"

Friends and Neighbors - Latasha, Mary Kay, and I at Bunco Night on Monday
I haven't really talked about what I've been up to lately. it is...  Evan has been sick two times in the past two weeks.  Emily had her birthday, basketball games, and Girl Scout outings - cookies just came in too.  I have been working on Spring Fling auction donations, my Initials, Inc stuff, painting the house some, and helping my neighbor, Latasha, at her children's consignment store...  Mary Kay and I try to get our 3 mile walk in most days - it has been fantastic winter weather!  God has blessed me with great neighbors and wonderful girlfriends!  Evan is getting ready to start an after school Taekwondo program at school this week and will start baseball practice next week.  Emily finishes basketball this week and starts soccer soon.   We've loved every minute of our new church - it is so awesome to look forward to going and then be surrounded in such joy and celebration while there.  We feel challenged by the messages and are growing. We are meeting more and more people through our LifeGroup, some Impact Classes we are attending, and my monthly women's night.  It is so nice to recognize faces there and feel more and more comfortable each week.  

Speaking of Southbrook...Pastor Rob did a sermon series on generosity for a few weeks.  I have never been as convicted during a series about tithing and giving of ourselves.  Jeff and I had pretty much been ignoring the tithing here.  I mean, geesh, we have two house payments, right??  We were reminded during these sermons that tithing is an act of worship and obedience and one that will grow our faith.  

Is our allegience to God or to money?  Quickly we say, "God, absolutely!"
Matthew 6:24  No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Do we ever think though, "if we could just have a bit more money, a little raise, things would be so much better - and then we'd be in a place to give more" ?
Ecclesiates 5:10  Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.
Our possessions are His.  When we chose not to give Him what is His with our tithe we are robbing God.
Malachi 3:8-10 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.  “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 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."       Yes - this is from the OLD testement.  But, check out a few verses before this:  Malachi 3:6  "I the LORD do not change."
This is the only thing that God asks us to test Him on - He wants us to give and ust see what He will do for us.  SEE IF I WILL NOT THROW OPEN THE FLOODGATES OF HEAVEN!!  We hear about those who give and are repeatedly blessed and He always provides for them.  Why is it so hard to trust Him?
2 Corinthians 9:11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
He says we will be blessed in all ways so that at all times we can be generous and a blessing to others - thus showing others God's love and leading them to Him!  I will give God my first and my best so He can bless the rest!  If God does not get my first and my best - who or what does then??  Matthew 12:30 "He who is not with Me is against Me."

So, Jeff and I were gripped with conviction.  Yes, we have two house payments.  No, I have no idea how we are making ends meet.  But we will increase our faith in God by being obedient and giving Him what is His.  He will be first in our lives.  I have always done the finances and when it comes to tithing in the past - I really have not loved to do it.  I do it, but not with a joyful spirit.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed writing the past few checks - knowing what is in store for us.  Knowing that He will provide for us and will give us what we need in order to be a blessing to others!  And, evidently a lot of the congregation feel the same - during Sunday's tithe and offering a cheer broke out.  God smiled.

If you are interested, you can listen to Pastor Rob's Genome series here:

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