Sunday, January 29, 2012

What I learned at church today...

Our church's theme for 2012 is AMPED, which means: to be energetic; excited; to make larger or stronger, increase or extend; to develop more fully
(definition from the pastor's notes)

In January, we have been learning about different areas of our lives where we need to be AMPED.

This week, we talked about being AMPED in our giving.

I've struggled with tithing for a long time. It's hard enough to make ends meet already. Taking 10% of my income and giving it away seems crazy when I'm barely able to pay my bills with 100%. How in the world would I be able to make it with 10% less? It just doesn't make sense.

It used to make me angry to sit and listen to a pastor talk about tithing when I knew that I had little to nothing in the bank and several little mouths to feed. How dare he ask me to give him MY money! I've heard over and over people say, "The 90% can do so much more with God's help than you could ever do with 100% on your own." But mathematically, that doesn't make sense. 90% is less than 100%, so how could 90% possibly go farther?

But then, I realized something. Tithing is not about giving money to the pastor or to the church, it's about giving to God. AND, it's not my money at all, but God's money. He is the one who provided the job and the paycheck. He is the one who has given us the ability to work. All he asks in return is that the first 10% be given back to Him.

Over the course of our marriage, Daniel and I have sometimes tithed on what we've earned and sometimes we haven't. There have been times when the logic and math of the checking account has overridden our faith in God to provide what we need and we have chosen not to tithe. Other times, we have stepped out in faith and given even when it didn't make sense to do so. I can honestly say that the times we have stepped out and brought our tithe, God has supplied everything we needed. It doesn't make sense. It isn't logical. But it is the truth.

For the past 6 months or so, Daniel and I have been faithfully tithing on everything we receive by giving to our local church. Sometimes it is a little scary when I look ahead at the bills that are soon due and start subtracting them from the balance of the bank account. My brain will tell me that we can't afford it this week or maybe we should just do half this time. But I have faith that God will provide and He ALWAYS does. We are not millionaires. We haven't won the lottery. But, God has provided for our needs. Here are a few examples-

-a month or so ago, Landon lost his only pair of glasses. We were able to not only replace them but we had enough to get two pair so he would have a back-up. On top of that, we were still able to go and enjoy a trip to Tulsa for my birthday. (the very next day, Dakota found the missing glasses in the backyard. God has a sense of humor! Ha!)

-a couple of weeks ago, we needed to replace two tires on our van. We replaced 3 of them before our trip to Disney World and the 4th one was finally worn completely out. One of the others we had replaced before was separating. We were able to get them both replaced at the same time. All our bills were paid AND we had two brand new tires. Around here, that is a BIG deal.

Both of those needs were met with only 90% of our income! I truly believe that it is because we give that we were blessed with having what we needed when we needed it.

A passage I loved from today's sermon is Malachi 3:10-12 (New Living Translation)
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies."

If you don't already, I encourage you to take the step in faith and bring your tithe to God. The passage above says "Try it! Put me to the test!" Give to God and see what He blesses you.

Our pastor issued a challenge today for everyone in our congregation to commit to tithing for the next 90 days. Join us in the challenge! I know you'll be glad you did.

Don't you think Landon looks handsome in his new glasses? God is good!

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