Monday, January 14, 2013

Putting God To The Test!

I just need to praise God for His provisions.

For MANY months last year our tithing was sporadic and many times I just ignored the call of God to give.

In October the Lord basically whooped my hind end.

My prayer began that He would quicken me in my tithing and that it would be the first check written and that we would not spend a dime out of Chris' paycheck until the tithe check was written.  God has honored.  After tithing and paying our insurance for our home out of this last paycheck (which had only a few days of pay due to the holiday's), we had enough money to put $10 worth of gas in the car.

The need list was large before the next pay check, and many more bills due.

So, I trusted and put God to the test!

Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be in my house.  'Test me in this,' says the Lord Almight, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and poor out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

Hmph.  Just wait.  Keep reading.

Saturday, a sweet friend came to watch Christopher play basketball.  On the way out, she said she had some stuff for us.

She and I had talked about making some home made cleaners, but in my schedule never followed through with it.

She had a box full of cleaners for me.

In that box were several rolls of paper towels, toilet paper, razor, and deodorant.

We had been out of paper towels for 3 days and were down to just 5 rolls of toilet paper.

Every time I would put a new roll of t.p. out, I prayed, "God, you know our needs."

Recently my water bill was due to be disconnected.

For three weeks I tried getting through to local agencies to help with the water bill.  When I was able to get through, I was told "We are out of funds.  Please call back after Christmas or in January."

After trying all last week to get through, I contacted ECUA and explained to them that my husband didn't work for one week in November due to Thanksgiving and for nearly three weeks in December/January because of Christmas and New Year's holiday's as the library was closed throughout the holiday's.  The disconnect notice was due for the 7th of January.  The furthest they could extend the disconnect was the 14th (today) and then there would be the disconnect amount, past due amount, and a current amount that would then be due by the end of January.

On Thursday, after calling for all those weeks, at 10:06 a.m., I got through.  I gave the lady on the other end the past due amount.  She asked for the total amount due.  I told her I didn't know, but reiterated what the disconnect amount was.  She in turn contacted ECUA (while I was on the other line).  She informed me the total amount due was $119.21 (again, that is three months worth) and that they would be paying the entire amount.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

She then stated I would have to bring in the bill with that amount.  I told her, again,"I don't have that bill, but only have the disconnect bill showing the $36 and some change."

Anybody want to guess what came in Friday's mail?


You got it.

A current ECUA bill showing $119.21 due.

Even as I type, I can't help but smile.

Do you see the timing of it all?

IF I had been able to get help prior to Christmas, or even before this past Thursday the 10th, only the past due would have been paid.  There would have not been three bills due to be paid.  I would still be taking the burden of two other bills before the Father.

But that's not all.

Today, after being home for just about 15 minutes, I had an unexpected visitor.  I was blessed with several pair of shoes, socks, a night gown and robe (which I only have 1 pair of p.j.'s and a gown and it is slap worn thin!) a book and a gift of $40 cash.  They said, "the Lord put it on our hearts."

I have goosebumps just thinking about it.  It is hard to reflect because the emotion of gratitude, of "awesome wonder" of non-deserving, of thankfulness . . . . not only to The Father for putting our needs . . . . . . MY needs and desires, on someone else's heart, but for the friends that were obedient to what the Lord had put on their heart.

They were right on and heard correctly.

Some criticize me for sharing too much.  I was hesitant to share the details of the Lord's provisions because of that, but I must ask that you know my heart.  My desire is to encourage someone out there that is struggling.  That doesn't know where there next meal is coming from, or has multiple disconnect notices, or doesn't know how they are going to put gas in the car or might not have bus fare and needs to get to work.

Luke 16:10 tells us that whoever can be trusted with little, will be trusted with much AND that whoever is dishonest with little, will also be dishonest with much.

The Bible also tells us in Matthew 6:33, "IF we seek FIRST the Kindgdom of God and His righteousness, all these things (Matthew 6:25 - 32 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." ) will be given (supplied) to you as well."

In January of 2012, I sat at my kitchen table and cried.  I was fearful of the coming year.  I had no idea  how we would get through it.  I just knew we were going to lose our house and we would be homeless.

In 2012, we lived on less than $5,000.

Yes.  I had to get help with bills from agencies.

Yes.  I was embarrassed and ashamed.

Yes.  I cried.

Yes.  I got angry.

Yes.  God used anonymous people to bless and provide.

Yes.  He saw us through.

Yes.  God used friends to help repair our car for less than mechanics have to charge (and we have a great one by the way!)

Yes!  God reminded me there are a lot of people a lot worse off than we are and that I had no right be angry.

I also realized I was too concerned about what other people thought of me.

I must do and know that I and only I am accountable unto God for what I do.

If I can lay my head down at night and know I have been obedient with what I have.  That I do what God has told me to do; that I am helping others that are worse off than me.  That I continue to be a voice for my son.  That I give God the glory in His provisions, then what others think of me just somehow doesn't measure up, does it?

To come to that realization, my friend, is called being free!

John 8:36, "So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In My Place

I am ashamed to admit that today was the first time in five months that I went to Sunday School.

I know.
I would attend service, but quickly get back home.  I don't know if I was trying to avoid the personal one on one of Sunday School, or if I was just tired from the chaos of the previous week and getting there at 9:00 was just too much for me.  Maybe it was because I had become lazy in my Bible reading and when I did, journaling was out the window.

I don't know the answer, but I imagine it was probably a combination of all the above.  After all, if a person's time with the Lord isn't right, there is no way they can go sit in a room of people in a one on one atmosphere and not have conviction.
Or maybe I am the only one that has ever experienced that?
Somehow, however; I find that hard to believe.

BUT, What I do know is that the Lord spoke to my heart on December 28th and told me to look for Him more throughout the year in 2013.  I can’t do that if my soul isn’t being fed and I am not where I can be held accountable.

2013 began a new change at our church.  Our service time is now 9:00 and our Sunday School time to 10:30.

Honestly.  The thought of it made my skin crawl.  I was ready to look for a new church; after all, I couldn't get to Sunday School on time and when I was going to worship only at 10:30, I couldn't even get THERE on time.  How in the WORLD was I going to get to worship at 9?! 

I was dreading it.

Today was my family's first experience with the change as we missed last Sunday.
I was not sure if we would stay for Sunday School or not.  I just didn't want to go.

But we did.

Can I tell you something? 

I loved it!

I didn't realize how much I had missed being in my place until I went back!

Not only was I so at peace to be "back in the saddle again," but the Lord has been speaking to my heart about an accountability partner for my quiet time/prayer life/journaling.  

How else can he confirm and work in that area of my life if I am not where I need to be?

I am so thankful for grace.  I am so thankful that when the Lord prods, and I do, that He confirms with amazing peace.

He will do the same for you my friend.

Find where the Lord wants you.  

Have the courage to walk through the door.  

He will bless you with abundant peace.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

When God Speaks, I Break Tradition . . . .

I quit making New Year's Revolutions many years ago.  Seemed I never took it seriously and never accomplished anything I set out to do.  BUT, several years ago, the Lord starting revealing something new to me the month of my birthday . . . . . something for me to do for/during the coming "birthday" year.

I can't remember what it was when I turned 39, but, when I turned 40, the Lord told me to glorify Him in all things.  That became my goal; to make sure God would receive the glory in all things in my life.  That meant exposing some truths I wouldn't normally expose, but God guided the words and gave ample opportunity for Him to be glorified.

This past year, the Lord spoke to me about purifying my life; cleaning out the closets . . . . literally and figuratively.  Cleaning house and being "ready."  He then gave me the scripture to back what He was telling me.  Oh it wasn't a pleasant one, but needed.  I am thankful for a year in which to work on this task, as it is a tough one for me; but He will see me through.

But then, something strange happened just a few days ago.  On December 28, 2012, the Lord woke me at 4:45 a.m. and spoke two commands into my soul.  I immediately knew it was Him.

1.  Hold your husband's hand more.

2.  Seek me in everything.

"But Lord, I don't make New Year's Resolutions!"  I thought.

"This is not a resolution, it is a goal.  A command."  said the Lord.

I chuckled at the first one, but I knew my Lord had been preparing me to love my husband better; to be a better wife.  I know "holding your husband's hand more" might seem silly to some, but for me, it takes a constant effort.  Touch is not my love language, so I often forget that it is the one love language my husband needs.

In regards to the latter of the two, this morning, while flipping to Psalms, the Lord stopped me at Psalm 105.  I was looking for a Psalm or Proverb that hadn't been marked up . . . . . .looking for something "new."  While Psalm 105 is marked in, He did show me something "new," and He confirmed what He spoke into my soul just a few days ago..

Psalm 105: 1-5, "1 Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples.  2 Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works!  3 Honor His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.  4 Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always.  5 Remember the wonderful works He has done."

In my Bible, next to verse 4, the words "in all things" are written.

How can I not smile at that?

Happy New Year to all reading this.  May God bless you, teach you, and grow you in the year 2013!