Trust – Giving update

I’ve talked openly on this blog about my struggles with the end times. The Bible tells me that the second coming of Jesus is something I should rejoice over, and yet I’ve always struggled to feel anything but fear about it. I’ve worked hard on this, because I know God doesn’t give me a spirit of fear. If His word says that the end of days is ultimately going to be a good thing, then I need to get to a place where I see it as a good thing. While I can say that my fears and anxiety over all of this has lessened in recent months, I’d be lying if I said I was totally past it. So you can imagine that last week when the class I’m taking at church was set to study the second coming of Jesus I was a little anxious. Since I’m being completely honest here, I’ll even tell you this. I almost skipped church so I wouldn’t have to sit through this particular lesson. The class has been great (it’s called Foundations of the Faith) and I love the teacher, but I did, I sat at home that day and considered faking an illness and skipping out.

I’m happy to report that I did in fact go to church that night. We engaged in some great praise and worship, and then I headed to the class. I spoke to the teacher beforehand and told him of my fears, and I told him that I was hoping to have a breakthrough in the class. Well, about ten minutes into the class he said a word that exploded inside of me. I don’t even remember what came before or after, but he said “trust” and I was done. As the word came out of his mouth it echoed within me and the holy spirit just went crazy all over me. I felt like crying as that word echoed on my insides with this booming voice.

As I sat there sort of stunned, a question sounded out in my mind. Do I trust God? And honestly, then and there, that was it. My fears of the end of the age, the return of Jesus, the tribulation, the rapture, the new earth, an unknown eternity after that, they were gone. Because I trust God, and there’s not room for true trust and fear in the same relationship. His word tells me that it all works out for my benefit in the end, that the end result is a beautiful and happy eternity lived with God and with my fellow believers. And that is that. Do I trust God to keep His word? Because if I do, if I really do, then there’s no place for that fear in my life.

And honestly, that was it. It happened quick. I wanted to cry, but I held it together and really the rest of the class was a great blessing to me. I was able to hear about the second coming of Jesus with a clear mind, a mind that wasn’t clouded with fear and worry. I’m not going to pretend to understand it all, because I still don’t grasp a lot of it. Revelations remains a pretty big mystery to me. But I know it all works out to bring forth the eternal kingdom of God. It sounds like it’s going to get pretty intense as that comes about, but as a child of God, as a bought and paid for follower of Jesus, there’s nothing for me to worry about. I don’t know if the rapture happens before the tribulation, or if we’re going to endure some of the troubled years of the end times first, or whatever, but I know I trust God. I know that every time one of His followers experienced intense troubles in the Bible, God was there with them. He carried them through it, He helped them endure, and even those times when it ended in their death, He was there to meet them at that final moment and welcome them to eternal life.

So there you go. A single word, spoken by a wise and faithful teacher, and God magnified it and sent it crashing through my spirit like a tornado. Trust. Believe. Rest in the promises of God’s word. Listen to the words Jesus spoke.

John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Something awesome about all of this is that the next time I saw my teacher I shared with him my breakthrough that I had. He told me that he’s working on re-writing that chapter of his book (he wrote the book we study from in the class) and that as he studies all the things going on in the world he found himself sort of awash in material and notes about the second coming. He said that his wife spoke to him about it, saying something along the lines of “doesn’t that chapter just boil down to trust?” He told me that my story of how the word trust had just resonated in my spirit was a confirmation for him about what that chapter was truly about.

Isn’t it amazing how God works? He uses us in such incredible ways. He used this wonderful teacher to give me a breakthrough, then uses the story of my breakthrough to help the teacher as he does work on the future version of the book. God’s awesome, you guys. His wisdom and intelligence and the way He intricately weaves us together and uses us to help one another, I just love it all so much.

Giving Update

If you missed it, I gave a deeply personal look at my financial situation and my financial giving to God last month. You can read about that HERE. I’ve got something to add to that story. One of my spiritual leaders spoke about the offering at church last night and he did an incredible job presenting why we give to God. As he spoke, something occurred to me that I can’t believe I didn’t realize before now.

Earlier this year, right before I got serious about my return to church and the re-dedication of my life to Jesus, I faced a huge crossroads at work. I had an opportunity to move to a different newspaper and the move would’ve brought me a lot more money. In the end, I chose not to do it for many reasons that I won’t bore you with. Well, my current job was able to offer me a small raise as they showed appreciation for my loyalty. Do you want to know what I realized last night? Guess how much that raise was. It was exactly ten percent! As I was just coming back to the church, and as I’d soon face a battle about giving a ten percent tithe of all my money to the church, God saw fit to bless me with a ten percent raise in my job. So basically, my tithe each week is the raise, and I’m left with the exact amount of money I’ve been used to living off of for over a year now.

It blows my mind that I didn’t realize this sooner. It also blows my mind just how awesome God is. At the time I received the raise, tithing wasn’t even on my radar. At that point I was working through bigger things. But God saw the need on the horizon. He knew I’d get to a point where I’d feel called to obey His word on financial giving. He pre-provided me the means to give a ten percent tithe while still maintaining my ability to feed and house myself.

Matthew 6:7-8 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them,for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

What an awesome God!

One last word on my giving and finances. I’ve noticed recently that my money seems to stretch forever. I was getting groceries today and sort of tallying up everything I did with my paycheck this week and it just doesn’t seem to math properly. As I trust in the Lord, as I give faithfully to Him, and as I honor Him with some of the uses of the rest of my money, I swear I think He’s stretching my dollars to crazy lengths. God is faithful, you guys, He’s so faithful. I’m not perfect with my money, and truthfully I’m still a bit of a financial moron, but I’m way better than I was a month ago. And God’s noticed, and He’s blessed me.

CLOSING AND PRAYER

The prayer for today feels obvious to me.  Let’s thank God for the good things He’s done in our lives.  Sometimes we get so focused on the remaining problems that we forget about the past problems God’s solved for us.  As a matter of fact, I’m just going to write my prayer out.  Father, today I just say thank you.  You are an awesome, mighty, loving God.  You know my heart, you knew my fears, and you arranged my steps straight into that Foundations of the Faith class.  You got me in the chair, in front of your faithful servant, and you broke the chain of fear that’s bound me for so long.  And Lord, I thank you for the work you’ve done on my finances.  You are the God who can do very much with very little.  You see my heart, you honor my giving, and you make me wealthy in a thousand different ways.  Father God, help me continue to grow as a steward over my finances.  Help me find more ways to use my money in manners that honor and glorify you.  Thank you for all that you do in my life Lord, thank you for loving me and blessing me so much.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

That’s it for the week of blog posts, my friends.  I love all of you, and I hope that you’re finding yourself blessed this week.  If you’re going through struggles right now, just know that the hand of the Lord is on your shoulder.  He loves you and He’s with you in every situation, good or bad.

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