by Pastor Tim Burt
Note from Pastor Tim: This post is a little longer than usual. If you don’t have time to read it all, read it over a couple of days! Bless you!
Renee and I had been married for just two years when we had our first child Stephanie. Renee was a flight attendant on maternity leave at that time and had planned to go back to work after the birth of our daughter. She did go back for about two trips but came home miserable from each one. I came home from being out of town and found her in the bedroom crying. As I comforted her, she explained that she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom with Stephanie. I told her if that was what she wanted, I was good with it, but, that we’d need to apply our faith and pray and ask the Lord to direct in how to walk that out. It would take God helping us to make that happen.
We sat down and added up all our ongoing monthly bills and expenses. Then we looked at how much I brought home each month. She actually made more than me so we would be cutting our income in more than half if she quit working. When we added everything up, we had ten dollars a month left over from my income. Ten dollars for any little unbudgeted thing! Honestly, that could have been unnerving if it hadn’t been for our faith in the Lord and His promises!
I had great peace in her quitting because I had believed from the beginning that was what God wanted for Renee and our daughter. Renee was overjoyed with the fact that I was encouraging her to quit and be mom. She promised she’d be frugile and the best steward of our money and that we’d pray together asking God to show us how to make life work with her at home. My greatest request from here was to promise to stay in faith and not fear during the hard times. I knew they would. We have an enemy of our faith. He loves to steal our faith and see us cower in fear! For me, I was willing to face my fears and overcome them through my faith in the promises of God. I knew I was young and naïve and was told so. But, I also I believed God’s promises were true and that God was intimately involved in our life! I would lean in faith upon His Word knowing God would make a way through difficult times if we’d trust Him.
I was willing to work hard to provide and trusted that in my inabilities, God would be my strength and help! Our faith was tested a hundred times but we knew we’d have financial challenges because we know the devil’s devices. We knew that the Word said. “The righteous face many troubles, but the Lord rescues them from each and every one.” (Psalm 34:19) The promise of being rescued was a promise we had stood on and held to before God many times.
We also knew that the Lord promised to rebuke Satan from our livelihood and finances because we had always brought our tithes and offerings to church. ALWAYS! We knew we could stand on His promise of the tithe. Malachi 3:10-12 NIV says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord Almighty, “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! Let me prove it to you! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not shrivel before they are ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord Almighty.
I wasn’t a farmer but I knew this promise applied to us because we were faithful to obey God and His word. We trusted God and took Him at His Word. We trusted that He would bless what we put our hand to and rebuke Satan when he tried to steal from us or hinder what we worked toward.
We believed God wanted to be involved with and bless our finances and bring increase to every area of our life. We had read from Deuteronomy Chapter 8. In that chapter, God was revealing how He had delivered His children, taking them from the Egyptian desert and slavery to a promised land of plenty, even though this place He would bring them was filled with enemies. That sounds like a good news/bad news joke. He promised them He would help them defeat every enemy and take hold of this rich land, IF they would learn to obey Him and have faith and trust in Him. Then He told them a mind-boggling truth. He told them (paraphrased) “I am not bringing you into this land because you deserve it. “Frankly you are stiff-necked and stubborn.” But, He told them He would bless them because the people in the land He was bringing them into were so wicked that He wanted to drive them out AND because He had made a promise to Abraham to bless them and bring them into a land of milk and honey.
Do you know what the means to you? God does not want to bless you because you deserve it or because you have earned it. He is because He made a covenant with Abraham reaching all of us today! He is a covenant God! He is a promise keeper! Yes He wants us to obey Him but His blessing is going to come because of your faith and trust in His love and promise to you, and as you learn to live for Him.
You have to read this for yourself. Deuteronomy 9:1-6 NLT, “Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to occupy the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! They are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But the Lord your God will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised. “After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say to yourselves, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are so righteous!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is doing it. It is not at all because you are such righteous upright people, that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he had sworn to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will say it again: The Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are righteous, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.”
Renee and I ended up raising four children. She never went back to work until they were in high school. She did then because she wanted to. They all went to college on full or partial scholarships and graduated without owing any school debt.
We had plenty of days where Goliath seemed to be in a stare-down with us. We always tithed and gave offerings and we always trusted in the Lord in every test. He always saw us through.
Do you belong to Jesus? Does this promise extend to you? Absolutely! Faith in God’s promises and your obedience to bring your tithes (the first 10% of what you earn) to Him is you opening your front door to God’s involvement in your finances. It isn’t a gimmick. It isn’t magic. It isn’t manipulation by any church! It’s God’s word. Your faith will be tested! But, in the end, through your faithfulness to obey and trust God, you will have seen God work miracles in your finances over and over and over again. It is His will to bless you and this is the action to your faith that makes it happen! If you can, please go back and read Deuteronomy chapters 7-9.
Galatians 3:29 (NIV) “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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