Sunday, April 7, 2013

Some thoughts on Tithing

My husband says that God doesn't need our money but, oh, how He teaches and blesses us when we give it to Him!

There are so many scripture which speak to this but one of my favorite promises is:

Malachi 3:9-12
9 You are under a curse the whole nation of you because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.

The Lord honors our obedience. It is often said that you cannot out give the Lord and I would like to share just a bit of my testimony in this area.

I have stories that will knock your sox off.... from way back but ones like when home from YWAM - and people paid for my plane ticket, people paid for my car insurance and shampoo and clothes.... AND I wanted to tithe on the value of those gifts...

I went to have lunch with my ex sister in law and she had a card sitting at my place.... I opened it and inside was $200. I was blown away as she was a waitress and did not have that kind of money. She said to slow down in my protests, she found the money in twenty dollar bills in an old purse of hers in the closet (in an envelope) and neither she nor her hubby knew how it got there. She was thinking "wow, I'll get a new suit" the Lord said - "no this is for Marijo", so she gave it to me.

Well, there were a couple of other things I had to tithe on and long story short I wanted to give it right then (I still did not have $$ for gas to get back to YWAM OR books for my next 6 months there or my tuition)

The Lord brought one couple who were on staff at YWAM to mind when I got up in the middle of the night. I felt the $$ were supposed to go to them - I mailed it off down to the odd penny. I got word back that she was expecting and the MD had told her that she had to have the down payment in by that Monday or he couldn't continue to see her - the check I sent was down to the penny what they needed for the MD!

Well, the pediatrician I worked for ended up needing me for a day while I was home and I went in to work. Towards the end of the day he came to the desk and dropped an envelope on my desk. It was his IRA contribution for me for the previous year. I was speechless (this was 7 months after I quit) and his comment was "well, you did work here last year you know." Immediately the Lord told me "this is your tuition for YWAM and you are going back and will not have to work a year and then go back...."

WOW - then I had more to tithe on and paid the penalties and took out the IRA. Now HE had only to give me gas money and money for the text books....

Well, then my roommate called from San Francisco - someone had given her a plane ticket back to YWAM and she wasn't going to go with me (and split gas) after all.... It was 3 days before I was supposed to go back before a good friend told me that the Lord told her if I couldn't find anyone to help me drive back she was to go with me and take a bus back to Stockton. She did and we had a totally wonderful trip. 

The day before we were to leave for Texas, I broke a filling and had to go to the dentist. They did two things and asked if I wanted to pay or have the bill sent to me - well.... that was a no brainer since the checking account was empty. I said "oh, send it to me please..." I got back to my friend's house (who doesn't go to my church and knows hardly anyone from my church) and she said "hey, some lady from your church called while you were at the dentist." No one from church knew I was at the dentist either. I called and it was the church secretary saying that two anonymous donations had come for me that AM, equaling exactly the amount of the dentist bill. I never did find out who they were from.

And it goes on and on and on - I was given 100 stamps in a roll and tore off 10 and asked the Lord whose they were and he had me put them under the pillow of a YWAM gal with an abusive father who disowned her when she went to YWAM...

Mick and I continued to tithe and give offerings after we got married. 10% of the elk we got, 10% on the gain from selling our house, 10% when we got monetary gifts etc. We have been down to one egg and a jar of peanut butter in the house but have never missed a meal or been late in paying a bill. We have also had spiritual blessings untold. My being able to work at Every Home for Christ for over 9 years and meeting incredible Saints from all over the world being one.

My challenge to you is to give that FIRST 10% of what the Lord has provided for you and see the incredible ways He provides and blesses and brings increase to you. Give FIRST, even if you have only one egg and a jar of peanut butter. On that occasion someone got into our locked car and left 2 bags of groceries inside. In those grocery bags were the exact things we needed like soap for the shower. Also, Mick's favorite, canned salmon. Tell me that our Jesus wasn't working overtime on that one. We hadn't shared our need with anyone and still don't know who or how they got into the locked car.

In most recent years there is more to the “tithe” story I would like to share with you!

We were totally BROKE after Mick got my engagement ring and an emerald ring for my birthday.  We married thinking we were going to be in YWAM (although the Lord had given us scriptures indication taking some time off BEFORE we found out they didn't have married housing for us) and we came back without a place to live (were temporarily in YWAM hotel) nor jobs....and BROKE - HE did it all!!!

We did not always use the best financial sense - got in quite over our heads in Woodmoor living in a BIG home (our “monster mansion” that we knew was a speculation home and not ours for long but to “turn over”)  We had mortgage and 2nd mortgage, credit cards (2) with very high totals.... actually changed credit cards a couple of times to get the 6 months interest free period. It was perfectly legal I might add, to help out financially... the house was on the market 11 months before it sold so we could down size.... HOWEVER....

When it finally sold the interest rates dropped for 2 days only and dropped a whole percent point.  We were able to get locked in and got a house worth $10,000 more than the ones we were previously looking at for the same house payment. We had that house for 6 1/2 years and ended up making $70,000 on it which is more than we had ever made selling the homes we built.

We did downsize when we felt that was what the Lord was indicating AND then paid off the credit cards each and every month. We have continued to do this with His help. 

Then after spending $7000 of the folk's money on just their room and board we did  not have a clue what would happen when their funds ran out... we were feeling that the Lord wanted us to "owe no man anything"

We downsized again to this place we live in now and had a smaller mortgage. We had the older cars, a 1999 and a 2003, that were paid for.

Well, somewhere in there the Lord took both of my folks home and we did get an inheritance.  After prayer for timing and after tithing on the inheritance (both my born again sister and Mick questioned why I wanted to tithe right then when it was in investments and we all had no clue what it would end up being worth, also I hadn't spent it yet.  My answer, I saw SO many needs in the Body of Christ  where that tithe could go.  At that time we were still church hunting up here and not at Calvary Chapel regularly anymore, so I prayed about where the tithe should go and listened to Mick's input too - and we got to bless many friends who are missionaries and etc.
Since then those investments (and our IRAs) have LOST around $12,000.... am I sorry I tithed on the higher amount.  Not on your life. Nor will I be "adjusting",  the rest just flows over into the "gifts" category.

One of the biggest thrills in my life was being able to give people who have given their lives to serving the Lord in places like Ajerbaijan and can't even depend on water or electricity and have 3 little kids....

Anyhow, due to the Lord and His grace, timing and our simply listening to Malachi (that wonderful Italian prophet - Mah Lache, don't you know) we now "owe no man anything except love" and are totally debt free, pay off everything each and every month.

Not because of us in our financial bumbling but because we were obedient with the tithe and offerings principles in the Word.  BECAUSE YOU CAN"T OUT-GIVE OUR LORD!!

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

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