“You say you have faith,
for you believe that there is one God.
Good for you!
Even the demons believe this,
and they tremble in terror.”
— James 2:19 NLT
Most Christians can quote very few verses from the Bible. Most can recite John 3:16 and a few, I believe, also could quote our opening verse from Chapter 1, Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” Nevertheless, just because we know this verse and may be able to quote it word for word, may I ask: How many of you really believe what this verse actually says? We may say we believe it, and quote it, but does our life reflect this belief?
Day in and day out we fight doubt and experience lack that are destined to rob our minds, hearts, and our confidence. Rather than living in the abundance of His riches, we struggle. This book is not just about our financial needs being met, though it will take up a good portion of it, but much more—it is about living this verse “my God will supply all your needs” in every area of our lives, and to reflect upon the greatest need He gave us—our heavenly Husband and His love.
This means, if we are indeed daughters of a Father who is the Creator of the universe, who states boldly, “‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:8) and “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine” (Psalm 50:10-11), then it means we should never lack anything—nothing at all.
The apostles experienced this incredible phenomenon themselves, and just to remind them of God’s ability to provide supernaturally, Jesus “said to them, ‘When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’ They said, ‘No, nothing’” (Luke 22:35).
Yet even knowing this truth, and no matter how many times God “shows up” by providing not just all we need, but very often most of what we want, we still speak or act and react as though we were impoverished orphans! How often have you caught yourself telling someone, even your children, “We (or I) can’t afford it” or you make sure you make it clear to others about some sort of “budget” when the Bible encourages the opposite mindset?
To compound our fate, our lack of giving also reflects what we believe and is an intricate part of the missing puzzle piece keeping us from living abundantly, contributing to our foolishness, when we wrongly act like God asks us to give to Him because He needs our money. The truth is, the only reason He asks us to give to Him or to others is so that we can experience the JOY when we see the fruits of sowing into what He is doing here on earth. So He set up a system, it’s called a tithe (which actually translates to 10%), so that our hearts will be intricately tied to His work. “For where your treasure is there will be your heart also” (Matthew 6:21). For those who begin to tithe, He then nudges them onto real giving, when we give beyond our means and present our offerings to Him.
Another myth that we must rise above is that we are only expected to give to God or to others out of our “abundance,” when He actually tells us that our faith “is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). Read how the Message Bible explains this verse where true faith must be entirely unseen. “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” I agree. This kind of faith is what makes life worth living.
Do you know what really gets God’s attention? It’s when we give to Him (and others) when we are in need or lack—this goes for being in need financially and in every other area of our life (like giving our time when we have none to give or giving encouragement when we need encouragement ourselves). Who can forget what Jesus said about the widow who gave the last she had in Mark 12:41-44 “Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, where people came to bring their offerings, and He watched as they came and went. Many rich people threw in large sums of money, but a poor widow came and put in only two small coins worth only a fraction of a cent.”
“Jesus (calling His disciples together): Truly this widow has given a greater gift than any other contribution. All the others gave a little out of their great abundance, but this poor woman has given God everything she has” (The Voice).
What good is being a child of God, set apart from everyone in the world (who have yet to know Him), if we act, respond, and look at our needs as unmet or something that has to be “earned” or “worked for” or “begged and pleaded for” when it says clearly in Scripture: “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” (Psalm 127:2)? And also in Deuteronomy 8:18 when it says, “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.”
Yet, oh how easily those horrid words roll from our tongue “I can’t afford it” and how accepted this concept is, even for a believer, especially for those of us who are single parents. I know.
May I be totally honest with you? This entire “poverty mentality” became one of my biggest hurdles to overcome. The battle began the day that the divorce agreement, which my husband filed, and that I had agreed to, became law, which meant that I legally (or officially) became responsible for an unimaginable mound of debt I’d known nothing about. And along with the debt, I’d also agreed to receiving no child support for any of my children who were living at home when my ministry and book sales (our sole income) was collapsing. To add to it, God saw fit to send my niece to live with us for a year, and a month later, He asked me to take care of my special needs sister, becoming her caregiver.
Was God trying to bury me? Or, was He in fact, once again, stacking the odds against me in order that I would be forced to totally rely on Him, and so that He alone would be glorified? Why did God put the story of Gideon in the Bible if not for us to see that if He saw fit to reduce the army he had to defend them from 32,000 men to just 300 men, that God, on purpose, wanted to prove just Whose power it is.
“The LORD said to Gideon, ‘The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me’” (Judges 7:2).
Let’s be honest, we’re all alike; unless God creates a situation whereby there is no way out and we can’t help ourselves—we will take all the credit. “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth’” (Deuteronomy 8:17). Being a “single parent” of a houseful of children and having others depending on me was just God’s way of stacking the odds—in order that He could supernaturally bless me (my family and my ministry).
Surprisingly for many, especially my ex-husband who more than once told me angrily that I was “going to lose the house” due to my continued giving, I am still living in and regularly have been making improvements on it. I believe that I hear the Lord who “sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them” (Psalms 2:4) who believe that divorce inevitably will destroy us—and that a big family equals poverty. Not so.
It is only when we forget Who our Father and Provider is. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). The Message “And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent… You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, His generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.”
It is only when we forget who our true Husband is (for each of us who have been rejected and forsaken) that fear and doubt takes over, which He begins by saying: “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.”
“For your Husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even like a wife of one's youth when she is rejected,’ Says your God” (Isaiah 54:4–6).
It’s only when we forget Who we belong to, who our Father is, when we will fall prey to the poverty mentality and its downward spiral into true financial poverty. Though things do appear hopeless and terrifying, God always writes the last chapter “so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:6–7 NIV).
Now, before rushing onto the next chapter, please take a moment, or better yet, a day or even a full week to think about the promises that we say we believe, but fail to live.
Once we live what we say we believe, others will soon witness that our entire existence is entirely to reflect the goodness of a Father who provides for ALL of our needs since He is so rich and full of glory! God our Father, Who provided His Son to care for and love us abundantly.
Financial Testimony #2
“You Never Asked”
Though I cannot tell you how many times I have shared this testimony and principle with family, friends, and even strangers, each time I do I believe I am just as blessed and encouraged as they have been, I could not write a book about finances without putting it in print.
As I’ve said, my journey of trusting God totally with my finances really began when my husband filed for divorce a second time. Prior to that, I had total and complete faith in trusting the Lord for our family and ministry, and it was my husband who had handled all our finances throughout our marriage. And over the course of all those years, there had to have been a dozen or more times when my husband would tell me that my faith in Him providing was only due to the fact that I did not handle the finances. I honestly thought he exaggerated the truth, but now I know that it IS a much harder walk of faith when it is you who is responsible because you can see how bleak your finances actually look.
When that fateful day arrived, my husband, while leaving for his appointment with the attorney, announced clearly that he would never pay any child support (he hadn’t paid anything the first time he’d left us) and that he was leaving all (not just some) of our debt to me. Once the divorce was filed, he told me he was done, and from then on I was on my own.
Then, one day while doing the laundry, I began daydreaming about those beautiful front load washers that say they hold 17 pairs of jeans. I couldn’t help it, I told the Lord how nice it would be to have a beautiful large front load washer since I had been doing the laundry for our large family and the loads had only increased since my husband leaving. That’s when the Lord spoke to me and said, “But you never asked me Michele.” So, with a heart bursting with faith, I blurted out enthusiastically, “Well, then I am asking you now. Lord, I would absolutely LOVE a front load large capacity washer and dryer!!”
Immediately, the moment I clicked on the switch and started the washer, it made the most horrible sound—yet I was ecstatic—I just knew it meant I was going to get my front loads!! Yippee!!!
My ex-husband, however, stormed in and said sternly, (after the children told him) shouting, “Are you serious Michele?! It only means, that you need a repairman!” When he said that, I didn’t reply as he stormed out. Instead I just stood there, stunned, thinking to myself, “I can only imagine what it must have been like to be married to a wife like me. But I can’t help myself, all I know to do is take everything that God says as gospel truth and when anyone believes with a “childlike faith” it has to be frustrating for everyone around you if they don’t believe.”
Even though I felt horrible at the wife I’d been to my ex, and another reason why he’d probably left me, very soon after while doing the laundry again, the Lord whispered, reminding me of what He’d promised, and told me to act on it: that I was to go to the store and purchase them. When I got to the store I immediately found out that there was a huge sale going on, with 24 no-interest payments. Incredible. The salesman wrote everything up, but I backed out. I suddenly felt horribly foolish for doing something so irresponsible.
My ex-husband was right, he’d told me countless times (and told my children too) that because of the way I handled finances (due primarily to the testimony I will share in the next chapter), we would soon lose everything, including our home. That day while looking at the front load washer and dryer, those words settled deep within my heart as I walked out without buying them.
The very next week I was on a plane to Colorado for my very first ministry trip. While there I got a call from my secretary who told me that a member of my fellowship, who I’d been ministering to via email just emailed and was sending in ten thousand dollars from Singapore! After the shock, joy, and dancing before the Lord had settled down (you will be reading in the next chapter how this miracle occurred), the Lord reminded me—me of little faith—that I had not trusted Him enough to buy the desires of my heart, what I’d asked Him for.
So, while on the plane home, I repented and asked the Lord to please give me a second chance. I reminded Him that His Father was the God of second chances, that He, too, was gracious, and that if He would again tell me to go ahead—I would do it, and every time in the future. But, I would need to know for certain it was Him, and not me, who was moving ahead. I asked Him for the confirmation when I remembered how the Israelites had been afraid to go into the Promise Land, then they later said they would go, but were destroyed because God did not go with them.
So I waited to know for sure.
Then, on a Sunday afternoon, I could feel the Lord telling me to go to another store. They had the frontload washers and dryers, but with only a six month no-interest. Then He led me to another store where they had twelve months no-interest, and finally, He led me back to the first store where I found that they were running eighteen months no-interest. Though that was good, I just had to know it was God before I purchased them in faith that He was giving me a second chance to act on it.
So, I told the salesman my testimony, and when I told him that it was because I had not asked the Lord, immediately it came to mind to ask the salesman, “Do you think it would be possible to get 24 months no-interest?” to which he replied, “Why not, let me get the store manager and ask him?” When I did ask, he said immediately, “That’s no problem at all; be happy to do it!”
Wow, now I had my confirmation, but He was not done. God showed up again in another incredible way. When I got back to that area of the store and told my children who were patiently waiting, my daughter said, “Great, and we are getting the black ones, right?” But the black ones were another $300, and even though they did match our other appliances (appliances were in the kitchen, but this was the laundry room!), God was again testing me, so I eagerly said, “Okay” and the salesman wrote up the order.
Now here comes my favorite part...
When I got to the cashier and she looked at the order she said, “Oh, then you are probably going to use your coupon” to which I replied, “What coupon?” and as I looked down, she was sliding a coupon across the counter, and before I could look at it, she rang it up and said, “See! You saved $300!!”
When I looked at the coupon, it said it was for purchasing an appliance on Sunday during a three-hour period. Isn’t that amazing?! It’s why He led me around to the other stores, bringing me to purchase them within that small window of time! And yet, why was I so surprised when He is God? And nothing, not one thing, is impossible for Him!
Dear bride, our Father is the God of second chances, and even when we are too afraid to get out of the boat the first time when our Husband calls us, He will give us a second and third opportunity to trust Him and fling ourselves into His loving, giving arms!