Day 2 is over and done with, for the most part. As I sit here tapping away at the computer, I can't really think of anything to write so I'm just going to let my fingers (and the Holy Spirit) do the talking...
The only thing that really comes to mind is my prayer and meditation time from earlier today. In order for you to better understand the story, I suppose I should start over...from the beginning...
It seems like ever since Marcus and I have been in LA, we've struggled with finances. It has been one thing after another, to the point that it has become comical. One thing that I can actually laugh about now, is that at times when we've tried harder to create an increase in our finances, things seem to get worse. It's almost like someone talking to a brick wall and not getting a response. So they start yelling a little louder in hopes of the brick wall opening a mouth to answer them.
I cannot think of a time when we've had this much trouble with our finances, but here we are. In my previous life, my life before Christ, I was irresponsible with the money I earned. But I always seemed to have it. I didn't tithe though. I didn't even understand the meaning behind tithing. I'm embarrassed to say that I used to think that I was being generous when I gave $20 in church.
I remember the first time I began to understand the true meaning of a tithe and offering and I gave to God. I couldn't believe I'd gone all my life robbing Him. Thankfully, my eyes were opened to the meaning of a tithe (*for those of you that don't know the meaning: it's when you give 10% of everything you gain to God*). I was so excited that I couldn't wait to get to church that week.
"Lord," I began to speak in my prayers before tithes and offering time, "please forgive me for not giving to you all this time. Thank you so much for revealing to me that all good things come from you...and for the opportunity to be able to give back to you what is already yours..."
I gave that day, and my heart felt full. I was so thankful to God for that. I left church that day, and couldn't wait to give more to God. A few days later, I lost my car. I paid to get it back, then lost it again...I was really upset when it happened. My initial thought when I woke up and found my car gone was this, "If I hadn't given to God, I would still have my car..." You see, when I realized I'd been robbing God all that time, I had a decision to make: Give him what I owed Him, or pay my car note and wait a bit longer.
When I shared this story with a friend of mine, the response was, "I don't think God wanted you to do that." I'm sure there are others that would read this story and think that what I did was irresponsible, and even stupid. And lots of people (including Christians) would probably say I should have "been responsible" and paid for my car first.
The thing is, I don't see anywhere in the Bible where God tells His people to pay bills first and then give to Him. Malachi 3:10 states, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
I admit I was not a very good steward with what God gave me for most of my life. And maybe I should have just paid for my car and taken care of God later. But I made the choice to bless God first, because at that point in my life, He'd been blessing me for 28 years.
As I've grown in my relationship with Him, I have come to realize how much work He was able to do through me without a car. I also came to realize all the mess and trouble He kept me from by my not having the car back then. It didn't seem like a blessing at the time, but looking back and seeing God's hand in all of it, I know how great He is. And all I can do is praise Him.
Anyway, I digress. My point in going there was to explain just how nuts our finances have been since we've been in LA. We've really had to rely completely on God for all of our needs to be met. But He is faithful and He promises to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:9) So we continue to stand on that promise, no matter what things look like. And we remain faithful tithers. I don't care how small our finances are, I will never (yes I said it---NEVER) rob God again for as long as I live.
I do admit, that I am human and I resort back to my old ways of worry and doubt. I was raised by a "worry wart". My Aunt E (that raised me), God rest her soul, seemed to believe that if you weren't worried, things wouldn't work out. This attitude was conditioned in me for the 15 years I spent with her. So yes, at times I look at our current situation and I go into freak out mode. I have to remember that God has got it under control...
Very early this morning I couldn't sleep, so I began praying and talking to God about our finances and asking Him for help. At times I got so choked up that I didn't know what else to say to Him, but "Help, please." In a moment of silence as I laid in bed waiting on God, and unable to find the words to form my continued prayers to Him, I heard a voice (more quiet than a whisper) speak, "You have to trust me." At this point, I experienced this incredible sense of peace, and a wave of relief washed over me. I knew it was God. So I just spent the next few minutes thanking Him and praising Him for His mercy and grace. After that I fell asleep.
There's a part of me that feels like one of the coolest ways God can "bless me indeed" is by increasing our finances. But I have to remember that there's more to life than that. Much more...Although I know that God could bless our finances "indeed" at any time if He wanted to, I'm open to whatever blessings He has for me during this Jabez challenge.
Even though nothing else happened today, I'm not discouraged. I'm thankful. That occurrence was super cool. Who wouldn't get excited about the Creator of the Universe speaking to them?!
I'm not putting any limits on just how God will "bless me indeed" over these next 30 days. I'm just going to keep my eyes and ears open. And be still...