Walking by faith is not something which just randomly happens. While faith may start out as small as a mustard seed, it will remain small unless you cultivate it. The way you do that is by consciously making a choice to live by faith. Granted, making such a choice will absolutely guarantee that you will be placed in positions which require you to exercise faith. Anyone who tells you exercising faith is an easy task is pulling your leg. Faith, by it's very definition requires you to take a risk. It requires you to go against what the world would call common sense. That's why it's called faith. You can't see through the darkness but you are trusting that God can. You are willing to risk jumping even if you can't see the hands that are waiting to catch you. You are simply clinging to the belief that God can see you and He will never let you go.
Often, the immediate outcome is not guaranteed. I say the immediate outcome because we do know what the final outcome will be in the end. For example, I pray that my cancer will not recur. Do I believe God can keep it from recurring? Absolutely. Has He at this point promised me it will never come back again? In my case, no, He has not. However, I do know that He will walk with me if it does, just like He did before. I know that there will come a day when He will release me from a body which has been sliced, diced, pickled and fried and can develop cancer. There will come a day when I will never, ever have to face cancer again. That will be the final outcome. In the meantime, I have to choose to walk each day having faith that God is in control and He will never let me go.
A short while back, I wrote a blog about tithing. Now, whenever you do something like that, you can guarantee the enemy is going to gripe about how it's easy for you to say that because you're able to meet all of your obligations and then some. "If they suddenly had their paycheck cut, if they suddenly had a lot of unexpected expenses show up, they wouldn't be talking like this." If you don't believe me, read the Book of Job.
So of course, like most people, we are having our own little upheavals as well. We're not suffering from a job loss but we incurred additional expenses during my medical leave, prices have climbed, cars have broken down, some funds have dried up and there are less special events going on right now so my husband has had a lot of his overtime dry up. That's been about 25%-30% of his income for the past 23 years. It's still there but not like it was. That's a good chunk since this was always very regular during the school year. He usually only gets a "normal" paycheck in the June, July, a part of August and January. My summer work will probably suffer this year as well since parents pay tuition and while it is less than daycare, who knows what will happen.
So, last night I was pouring over our finances and bills. Oh oh. There's a gap. The good news is we can pay all of our bills. The bad news is we have very little each month for anything else you know, like food and gas. We both commute 20 miles in the opposite direction and public transportation isn't really available. Thank goodness gas prices have dropped for now.
As I was juggling things here and there and figuring out what I could cut and stretch to close the gap a bit more, the enemy was suddenly right at my elbow. He gleefully pointed at the tithes I had deducted from our monthly income. He laughed as he pointed out the amount matched the gap exactly. That was convenient wasn't it. That would fill in the shortfall exactly. He even had the audacity to suggest (oh this makes me mad now that I think about it) to suggest that this would be God's way of providing for me.
I'm glad I'm writing this because now I'm really angry! My Father, The King, The Creator of All Things, The Ruler of the Universe, The Great I Am is going to provide for His Prince and Princess (my husband and I) by having us stick our hands in the coffer like common thieves? Absolutely not!
[bible]Malachi 3:10[/bible] God has issued the challenge to me. Am I going to trust in my own hands or am I going to trust in Him? Am I going to put my trust in what I see or am I going to put my trust in what God says. He challenges me to have him prove it and we're going to take God up on that. Time and space to not permit me to share all of the times God has proved it to us. We only know He will do it again simply because He has said He would.
So, the adventure has begun. We've snipped, clipped and cut what we feel we can do. Perhaps we'll discover we can do even more in the future. We will not snip, clip and cut what belongs to God!
So, what has happened already? Someone who came to my house for Thanksgiving gave me a check for $100.00 because they wanted to help defray costs. They don't know our situation as we didn't learn about it until Wednesday. Someone else (who doesn't know) was also at our house and they just told me they had forgotten their checkbook that day and they want to contribute as well as they enjoy coming to our house for the holidays so much. I got gas today and added up the three gas coupons I got from Cub. I saved $0.29 per gallon on my first 12 gallons of gas. I also got $5.00 in holiday bucks to use at the grocery store as well. Oh, and my husband had a check come in for a free-lance job he did recently. We never know when those are going to come in exactly so we can never count them in our budget.
I can't wait to see what God is going to do next!
Such perfect timing! I have blogged before about how we knew my son's college choice was of God after we prayed together as a family (for once!). Hubby and I have always agreed that the one thing we will do for our children is pay for their college education. It's that important. We don't want excuses as to why they don't complete their education, you know, gee, I don't have the money.
Hubby and I don't make a lot of money. On top of that, my home-based business is such that I invoice my clients and then who knows when the check will come in and how much it will be.
But God has been sooo faithful to provide for the tuition. Just like loaves and fishes. Each semester, whether I've had from January to August to stash extra $$ away, or if I've only had August to January (with the holidays, birthdays, etc., in between), we have had the $7,500 to pay tuition.
And yes, the enemy was right there. I actually found myself sitting and paying bills and thinking, you know, if I didn't tithe, I'd have some money. As soon as the thought formed, I fought it away and took that thought captive to Christ!Gracie