“But you shall remember the LORD your God,
for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth,
that He may confirm His covenant which
He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
How many of us believe that it is really God who has given, yes given, us the power to make what we have and have felt we earned?
The message for this chapter: It is God, not our talents nor big breaks nor our education that has given us the power and ability to have everything we own and the money we earn. My goal is to help you, and to reinforce to me, that you and I don’t have to do one thing, not one thing, to earn our way in this world. Yes, it goes against all sound thinking, doesn’t it? It sounds so spiritually weird that we can’t get our minds around it, and even if we could, we are afraid to try for fear of what people would think, and also what really believing this would mean in living our day to day lives.
Does this mean that if today I want to prove God right, I shouldn’t show up for work, and that I should write a check for more money than I have in my account? No. I don’t think that will prove anything except that we don’t have a clue about the difference between stepping out in faith and throwing ourselves off a cliff. It is not the purpose of this chapter to test God—though tithing is the one and only area, the part of our finances (specifically our tithing) when God Himself tells us to test Him, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows’” (Malachi 3:10).
My hope for this chapter, and this book, is for all of us to begin living abundantly, as true daughters of a Heavenly Father who tells us, in Psalm 127:2, that “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep,” when day after day we burn the midnight oil and drag ourselves to work lest we find ourselves in a state of financial lack.
Honestly, I have believed this principle for many years, and yet it wasn’t until I was in the place of paying all the bills, facing a mound of debt, without any means of paying for it crumbling below me when I really had a chance to see what I really believed. And to test my faith, as I began sharing in the last chapter, God made sure I had plenty of opportunities, from back taxes I discovered hadn’t been paid to me making around the world trips when there was absolutely no money in my bank accounts. Yet God has proved to me time and again that He is more than faithful to be trusted.
It is because our faith is so stunted that it takes many trials, yes, those infamous trials, for our faith to be stretched beyond what we think we can take. I believe I have found what God is looking for, yet even in knowing this, you and I cannot make ourselves come to the place where fear no longer takes hold and grips us—He alone gets us there, gently bringing us to a place of utter and complete trust. And another thing, you and I cannot convince God we have learned what we needed to learn, nor affirm we are free of fear when really we aren’t. He can’t be fooled; I know because I was the only one fooled when I made this declaration.
What I can tell you is that it takes a steady dose of crises, mixed with unending trials, with God showing up just in time, then showing up too late, for us to really see and experience the faithfulness of God.
So why does He bother, or better question, why do you and I bother to continue to strive to experience God’s faithfulness, wanting our Husband’s intimacy and learning to trust? For me, it’s all for one reason—to know Him, to experience Him in every area of my life. Only then will I find true peace and joy, and experience heaven on earth that others will witness and want too. Kind of funny that peace, joy, and heaven on earth have to come through the trials of life, isn’t it?
Strange that peace, joy, and heaven on earth are not simply found when we choose the easy road. And no matter how many tests we pass, there, just up ahead, is another narrow gate that the Lord will point out to us and prompt us to take. Why? “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you [and me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
It has been through these absurd financial trials for me to really experience the utter power and faithfulness of God. Let me define absurd. Ridiculous because it's irrational, incongruous, and illogical. It’s illogical because it doesn’t follow the rules of logic, does not follow the apparent reasonable, and is not giving us the expected response. To prove this, let’s take just one example, like what God says about giving.
God tells us that when we want or need something—this is the time we should give what little we have away. Illogical to be sure, nevertheless, this is the way He created the laws of the universe. And, there is no difference between this principle and the principle of gravity; it is set in place whether we like it or not, or whether we ignore it or not and whether we believe it or not.
Now let me ask again, Who gave us the power to make wealth? Clearly, we have our answer—it’s Him.
Financial Testimony #3
“That Building Pledge”
Immediately following my divorce, I had never had more money or more financial blessings! God saw my heart (by my actions and what I said to everyone) when faced with financial ruin, and He began rewarding me according to my faith and trust in Him!
Yet, it was the hidden debt that I was most concerned about when I first took over our family and ministry’s finances soon after my husband filed for the divorce. And to help stretch my faith, God chose to use a building pledge that we (my husband and I) had made almost two years earlier to begin increasing my walk of faith. It’s funny, but for some odd reason back when we’d made it, I sensed that there was something very significant in our making that particular pledge.
How did I know? Because my husband really balked and resisted “even praying” about making the pledge in the first place; he argued with me about it, even though I never even said a single word. Each time he asked me what I thought, I sought the Lord and immediately was able to respond with a “gentle answer” (that’s supposed to turn away wrath, but it didn’t). I simply said, “I don’t know, why not just pray about it?” and when this wrestling continued, that’s when I began to sense that this pledge was significant.
Ladies, any time you see resistance that is out of proportion to what is being discussed, you can be sure that the enemy is lurking close by to try to steal something from you (or your family or your ministry). And this means you can never blame any loss on your husband (or FH), or anyone else since you have the power to keep and gain every blessing through your obedience and trust in the Lord!
After my husband finally threw up his hands, and shouted, “Okay I’ll pray!” he returned only minutes later looking entirely different. He had an immediate change of heart and stated he wanted to give a pledge with an amount that was far more than I would have ever dreamed of us giving!! And because I was never included in knowing anything about our finances, two years later, I was totally in the dark as to how much we’d paid towards our pledge. It was only when I was going through the divorce before it was final when they announced one morning in church that the pledges would be due within just a few short weeks.
So, when I saw him, I asked my husband how much we still owed, he said he didn’t know, but that I could call the church for the balance. To my surprise, three-fourths (many thousands of dollars) were still due! For me to pay this would truly have to come from God—I would need Him to make a way.
The significance in this pledge was confirmed over, and over, and over again when time after time after time, my husband kept trying to persuade me not to pay it. He told me that he had made the pledge, not me, so I didn’t need to pay it. He said I should contact the pastor who was over the single moms and widows to ask to be released from it. He told my older sons that if I acted so stupidly I would surely lose everything, including our home, so they too began to reason with me, begging me not to pay it. However, for me, each attempt confirmed that to miss paying this would be a huge loss for me and for our future in regard to our finances.
Let me add something important here: each time my husband spoke to me, we were still married, but since he had moved out and filed for the divorce, each time he told me, I asked him if he was telling me or warning me. Each time he insisted that I needed to make the decision (that he was only concerned and didn’t want me to make a mistake that would mean me losing our home—remember, I told you the pledge was a large amount?). And each time I assured him that I would pray about it, which I did. And each time God continued to tell me that He would show me the way.
That is the other point I want to make—there was no way that I could have found a way to pay the pledge, none of it. I was backed up so far to the Red Sea financially already that my heels were getting wet! God had to be the One to do it, which I also kept telling my husband and sons at the end of each of their pleadings with me.
Interestingly, the day that the pledge was due came and went. God still had not shown me the way, but when I prayed, I still sensed God wanted me to seek Him to pay it even if it was late! Then during an evening service, our senior pastor made an announcement that “anyone who had not yet paid the pledge was released from what they owed!” Was God telling me that I was released? So I went back into my prayer closet and I asked Him if He was speaking to me through the pastor; yet, once again, He assured me that He would make a way and He wanted me to pay it!
Almost a full month after the pledges were due, God showed me a way!! I honestly was so excited to write the check, and what made it worse, I knew He wanted me to wait another three days for our prayer meeting just so I could put it in the offering! And even then, only two minutes before I was to slip the check into the offering bucket, the enemy had a dear friend lean forward to tell me something to steal the joy I was experiencing as I watched the offering coming down my row!!
Dear reader, it is not until you are pressed in on every side that you truly experience the faithfulness and wonder of God. It was less than three hours later when God blessed me beyond my dreams!! Even now my eyes fill with tears when I think of how awesome God is!!
As I mentioned, just three hours after I put the check in the offering, I received an email from a fellowship member who said that God had laid it on her heart to “sow a substantial seed” into my ministry!! The seed was the EXACT amount of the entire pledge!!! Did you see that?? It wasn’t only what I had put in the offering just 3 hours earlier, but it was ALL that we gave over the two years—the entire pledge!
But, that is not the end of the blessing. When I called and told my sons, they turned around and called their dad, who then called me (and left me a message on my cell phone) to tell me that I was right and he had been wrong! He told me he was so happy for me. This was huge (as I am sure it would be for you)!!!
As I close this chapter, I hope that what I have shared with you will give you the faith to trust God with everything!! To allow the Lord to so fill you with His love, that it will cast out all fear in trusting your Father to supply all your needs—by stretching your faith in Him through the trials that are meant to show He is faithful.
Remember, too, that you may even see a deadline come and go, but God is not bound by deadlines nor death!! Very often He waits like He did with Lazarus (when he waited for him to be in the tomb and begin to stink) before He shows up! Or like God did with the pledge. His timing is perfect and increases the suspense, gathering more people who are witnessing His faithfulness.
And lastly, if you do have other people who can help you financially, be sure you do not go to them for help (and why I kept the financial fate of my situation hidden for so long). Everyone, but God, has a limited supply. Don’t sell yourself or your family or your ministry short! Tap into the Father who owns it all and is more generous (and loving) than anyone ever created!! Keep remembering, it was the Father, who sent His Son, who became our Husband and who lavishes us with His love!
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18).
Read PRAISE that Encouraging Women post on our Encourager about having a Heavenly Father #HF.