Early in my walk with God, I would have completely stressed out about this Floundering Through The New Testament Bible Study Method. I would have assumed God had one perfect plan for my life, which of course translates into one perfect Bible study for me–for today. One and only perfect Bible study that I am supposed to be in RIGHT NOW. And if I miss it by choosing the wrong one, well, I might as well hang it up, cuz I’ve done-missed His perfect will for me.
That’s what legalism will do to a girl.
After years of screwing up day after day, I realize that God is not limited by my weakness and my inability to dwell in perfection. In fact, I think He THRIVES there (in my inability). He is so much more concerned about the condition of my heart than the location and topic of my Bible study. I think He delights in meeting me exactly where I am (in my inability). Whether it’s basking in the glory of a Beth Moore study or sitting in the early morning hours on my back deck in my pj’s, with my cup of coffee, reading through II Corinthians. Which is where I am today…
Last evening, while enjoying a summer walk with my husband, we discussed our finances—where to spend, where to give, how much to save. Just chatting, really. But honestly wondering what God would have for us in this season. A season where we are enjoying a steady income in a stable work environment, when so many of our friends are…not. It saddens me. It’s sometimes scares me. Like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop and we’ll be next.
And it reminds us daily how God has given us our financial blessing for a reason—and it isn’t so we can hoard a barn-full of stuff.
So as I opened up where I left off in II Corinthians, I read this:
“At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality,” ( II Corinthians 8:14)
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.’
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
(II Corinthians 9:6-15)
Wow. Those verses jumped off the page to me. I just love when “coincidentally” God addresses my questions in the very chapter I chose to read that day. My heart beats with excitement at ways we can be generous. I allow my mind to go a little crazy during my prayer time, knowing God can always rein me in if He needs to.
I sometimes feel like I’m careless with our resources and wonder how much more we’d have to give if I just paid better attention.
I think about how much I love helping to support adoptive parents. Having been through the process twice, I realize its ridiculously expensive and wonder how God could use our love for adoption and our desire for generosity to provide a steady stream of help to people longing to adopt.
So, I e-mail these scriptures to Jon at work, so he can be wondering about it, too.
Later in the day, I receive this e-mail from my pastor. It’s addressed to about 20 of us in our pastor’s small group.
“I’ve had a number of you on my heart recently and have prayed for you. I know many of you face significant challenges in a number of different areas. Here are some Scriptures the Lord put on my heart early Sunday morning before church.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. “
Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Based on these Scriptures, it seems fair to say that God isn’t giving us fear, but is calling us to trust Him at all times as our Father. Fear enslaves; faith liberates.
Be free today!
Yesterday during my prayer time, I was remembering how God thrust those scriptures into my heart Sunday morning, and here He is confirming it. I just LOVE when God repeats Himself. First speaking through my pastor on Sunday morning, then reminding me in my prayer time about the scriptures, and then again through this e-mail. I feel like He’s making sure I know it is Him so I don’t miss the message.
Got it. God absolutely does NOT want me to fear. And with this message, I feel a new wave of courage sweep over me.
I send an e-mail back to my pastor thanking him for being God’s voice to me today. And I thank God I have a pastor who hears God’s voice so clearly, and isn’t afraid to tell people when he does. I want to be like that when I grow up. God uses Tim to confirm things to me All. The. Time. I don’t take that for granted.
I’ve barely begun to tell all the ways God spoke to me throughout the day. He was very vocal. Or maybe I was very “tuned-in.” I received phone calls, e-mails and comments from blog readers. I spent hours of quality time, looking into the faces of my precious children. I felt like the entire day, God was showing me the number of people I affect with my words. I felt an overwhelming responsibility (in a very good way) to lead wisely, humbly and prayerfully.
What is God saying to you today? Comment or link up! And no worries if you can’t do it for 30 days straight. Just tell me what He’s saying to you TODAY.