Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quick update on Temple Restoration

Well, this has been a great week!

Today is day 10 (out of 90) of fasting caffeine and sugar.  I had headaches for about a week, but now feel great.

Last weekend I was given a bike!  I was so excited...this is something I've been looking for for quite a while.  My feet have been hurting a lot, so walking has been quite difficult.  I've been doing other exercise as I can...swimming, weights, calisthenics, etc.  But aerobic activity has been tough.  And then - hurray!  A bike!  I've been riding a lot and LOVING the freedom!

Then, this morning, I noticed something really exciting!  I noticed that I don't have a double chin anymore!  Woo Hoo!  That was pretty cool!

So, that's my quick update.  The overall weight is not coming off as fast as I'd like, but I'm seeing some changes.  I'm gonna keep on keepin' on....thanks!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Scripture Study on Giving

Well, this little series of articles that I thought would take a few months has taken longer than expected!  However, here is the next far, we've gone through:
  • what I'm doing in missions
  • what YWAM Perth is all about
  • plans for the future
  • perspectives on living a life of faith in finances
Today I'm going to be talking about what the Bible says about giving.  This is not by any means an exhaustive article, but more of a general discussion of Biblical principles regarding our finances.

Of course, we all know about tithing, which is giving back the first 10% to God.  I suppose we could start there.  I remember many years ago when I quibbled over whether that was 10% of the net or the gross.  I was totally missing the point!  I think we can do that with our finances - get so caught up in ticking every box of the law that we miss the big picture.  Gosh, I guess we can actually do that in every area of our lives, can't we? 

Why do we give a tithe, anyway?  It's simply to help us remember that everything we have comes from God, and it is one way we can honor Him and remember His blessings in our lives.  So, really - it's not our money, anyway - it's His!  And tithing is not just about our's everything - our time, our talents, our entire lives.

We could look at tithing as the entry level position regarding God's perspective.  Truth is, He really advocates that we live our lives according to the principle of generosity.  We can never out-give God!  I find that the more I live from a place of generosity, the more God pours out His blessings on me.  I actually think that the double-whammy-secret to a happy life is living a life of generosity mixed with a healthy dose of gratitude to God. 

Living generously keeps us from selfishness and also keeps us in touch with those around us.  I love being able to meet someone's need.  I try to keep my eyes and ears open and pay attention to what those things are.  It's incredibly encouraging, and super fun!  I especially love to do it anonymously.  Sometimes I get anonymous gifts.  It makes the whole world seem brighter, cheerier.  Every person I pass I think "maybe THEY'RE the one who gave me that little gift!"

I have the benefit of being connected to a host of people who understand and live by the principle of generosity.  From generous supporters to fellow missionaries, it is such a blessing to see and hear the testimonies of how living a generous life opens the floodgate of blessing.  Almost every day I get to hear incredible stories of God's faithfulness, some so amazing they almost seem unreal. 

One man I know needed some shoes.  He prayed about it one night, and the next morning he found four $20 notes on the ground.  Another family was at church when a man approached them and said he felt that God wanted him to buy an A/C unit for them.  Their 14 year old son had been praying for an A/C the night before.  Some friends of ours got into about $12,000 debt.  They began to fast and pray, and made the decision give something away every day.  In the last two months, they've seen over $9,000 come in from unexpected sources.  God is faithful!  He longs to meet the needs of His children!  Just think how it warms your heart when you see your kids do something truly selfless...don't you just want to pour out a big blessing on them?

Okay, well, I think you get it.  God wants us live generously.  The amazing thing is that He actually tells us to test Him in this!  Incredible!  Check out Malachi 3:8-10, which talks both about robbing God and His encouragement to test Him in our giving....

8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!
“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’

“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Amazing!  God is trustworthy.  He will do as He says, without fail.  Try Him in this and see if He doesn't bless your socks off.