Happy Monday! Hope your day is going wonderful! Personally, I am trying to catch up from a busy weekend...but I thrive on chaos so it's all good. I wanted to add a disclaimer before I actually published this post. If you were at church yesterday, you need to know that I wrote it on May 11th (last Tuesday). And that I was not in either service yesterday because I was in nursery. From what I have heard about the sermon topics yesterday...Billie and David may have copied my unpublished blog post...haha! God is so awesome! I am constantly amazed at His way of giving several people the same words to say when He is trying to make a point! I can't wait to watch the dvd's from the services yesterday and see what He was saying through the pastors.
I want to introduce you to something I frequently refer to as trying to "out give" God. I know it sounds absurd but I want to challenge you to try it. It will build your faith in a way you could NEVER imagine. Whether it be time, grace, love, money, kindness, compassion, etc. See if you can give above and beyond what God would give...and then sit back and receive His blessing. The blessing is ALWAYS bigger than what you gave in the first place. I have a couple of personal examples to share and I hope some of you will share as well:
Example 1: Time - Jan 2007 I decided it was time to read the Bible through in a year. I had never read the Bible from cover to cover and I felt God pushing me to do it. So I prayed for God to guide me, and most importantly MAKE me find TIME to sit and read it every night. Those of you who know me well...know that time is of the essence in my crazy life! ha And you also know that I do NOT get up early!!! So I decided to give God my BEST (as commanded in the Bible)time...which for me personally is 9pm at night after the kids are tucked in. Well, that year if I skipped a night, I felt so convicted until I caught back up...and if I was exhausted one night my calendar would unexplainably "free up" the next night. I never got more than a day or two behind before time became available to catch up. And then as if to affirm the reading...Billie or Tim would preach the same chapters I was reading at odd times of the year...like preaching from the Old Testament Micah in December instead of New Testament Jesus's birthday!!! It was an amazing journey! And happily in 2010 I am doing it again for the THIRD time!!! I plan to read the Bible each year until the Lord tells me to stop! You see, I gave Him time and he blessed me back with more time and more energy and more commitment to Him.
Example 2: Money - The subject no one wants to discuss giving away...haha About 7 or 8 years ago we decided to get serious about tithing. We felt God pushing us to trust Him and give consistently. We had always thrown a $20 in the plate here or there, but never a substantial amount of our income and never consistently. So we started cold turkey with 10% of our pay check before any other dime was spent...we wrote a check to the church. It was VERY hard at first and we did have to make some minor lifestyle changes but the funny thing is...we've never been short on a bill since. Now don't get me wrong we've had times where we needed to cut back on eating out and things like that or have put less in savings than recommended or had to wait to buy things we wanted until we could save up, but overall we've always had mysterious money show up just in time to meet our basic needs. The last time was a couple months ago. Every time we get paid I immediately write a check to church first, record our draft payments in the register, and then pay anything else that we owe. The checkbook had been out of balance for several months by $298.97 to the good (which made me DOUBT the accuracy...haha)...it was driving me crazy trying to find the error. Then...I got an unexpected hospital bill for Peyt's broken wrist which I was certain I paid in 2007!!! I called the bank to research and they had no way to prove it because I had no clue when I paid or to who or anything. So I was going to have to either pay a fortune in research fees ($165) with no guarantee or suck it up and pay it again (around $100). I was out of money for the pay period...but then I remembered the check book error. When I added the $298.97 into my checkbook I had enough to cover the bill and have some spare for eating out!
Example 3: Compassion - And those of you who know me well...know that compassion and mercy are NOT two of my spiritual gifts! God is working on me in this area of life, but I am such a slow learner that I fear He will give up! just kidding! I know "He will never leave or forsake me" regardless of my compassion level...Anyway recently my neighbor's sister died from cancer. Can I first say that I hate cancer??? Well I called the morning she died to see how she was because she had been in ICU and Chris told me the news. So against my better judgement I stopped by before work the morning she died to speak to Cheryl. Y'all know how easy I cry...well needless to say I stood in the doorway and boo hoo'ed with her. Make up smeared everywhere. And I had no words, just tears. And then I came to work smeared make up and all. Yesterday Travis went over to see Cheryl and she is still a wreck, but she is so thankful that we have been supportive. And her thankfulness just gives me a strange peace. Normally I would have not stopped in to speak to her in a million years, but God told me to go and be late to work. And it was a priceless God moment to be there to cry with her.
The common thread in these examples is to GIVE...whatever you have...GIVE it away! I love the Operation Christmas Child motto and song last year..."Give this Christmas Away" (you can see the video on you tube).
So I challenge you to GIVE today away...and be a blessing to someone! He will give it back to you tenfold! You CANNOT out give God! Praise Him!