"If you don't see the real me, you won't see what love has won..." Vota

Monday, June 28, 2010

Confessions of a sinner

I may or may not post this because the topic is personal and a hard topic to talk about with others and well frankly it is laying out there a sin that I have been covering or rationalizing for a LONG time. Long, long time. Long, long, long time.

The subject is money. Ahhhh, not sex??? I'm married that is not a sin! Ha! I am going to cut to the chase. Ernie and I or maybe I should just take the credit here for this one because I am the one who manages our finances (I like this control and I think it is full time that we start sharing this responsibility, but that is another blog altogether)... I am procrastinating here because of the shame I feel. OK, so Satan is the shamer! I have not "tithed" in a VERY long time. I was going to go right into an excuse and explain how I have given money to the church over the years, but just not as a tithe, but I am not going to make excuses. Here is the sin-- I have not trusted God. I don't think He has a set amount of money that He expects of us, but He expects us to trust Him, which means that if I am giving what I have leftover at the end of the month/paycheck then this is not trust! I am going to tell you a story.

About 2 years ago in Bible study (It was a Priscilla Shirer study on identifying the Voice of God) we had a guest on the closing night. Her name is Chantilly Carter, and I can tell you who she is. She is the chaplain of the NFL mom squad and her son was- maybe still is in the NFL and had also played at UT. I do not know what her son's name is, and I didn't figure it was important enough to ask. She was not there as a celebrity guest, she was there to pray with us and tell us her story. It was an awesome, God glorifying story too. Then at the end of her story she prophesied. Don't tune me out here thinking oh, geeze that is weird...

As she looked at each of us in the room she had some sort of God inspired encouragement for everyone of us. From a witness standpoint you could tell that what she told each lady in the room was hitting them right in the middle of what they needed to hear. I was a little skeptical and I thought, "If this is real then I will know because only God knows what I need to hear." When she got to me she looked me straight in the eye and said not an encouragement exactly, but a real prophesy. She told me point blank, "Your finances are going to change very soon and in a mighty way." I was wearing brand new pants how could she know we were struggling to make ends meet. Tears stung my eyes. I took this as a promise from God. For about 3 or 4 months I expected something big to happen. Nothing happened.

DON'T get me wrong, God still made our ends meet and always made sure we were able to stay out of the pit, but we still have not been making enough money to pay all of our bills and then live on the rest. We actually live on credit cards. None of our bills (except Netflix-- which I cancelled a few days ago) went on credit cards, just gas and groceries and any extras.

We have amassed a credit card debt--not one of the tales you hear when people are really over spending, but enough that it will take a while or next year's tax return to pay off. It seems this is how we have operated-- trusting in the tax return. Even though I know God is providing our jobs and the tax return in the first place and I give Him full credit, I did not trust Him explicitly. I have withheld from Him our first fruits. I have been giving like Cain-- not the best of what we have, just the leftovers with a truly cheerful and grateful heart-- This is not what He desires. I justified this and TRULY believed that I was not doing anything wrong, because when I gave it was a cheerful and grateful heart and sometimes I gave a lot (for us) of cash. The New Testament does not specify or much even talk about tithing so I made myself ignore God's commands and expectations in the Old Testament.

Now, I realize what I have been doing that is wrong is faking my trust in God. I may play the trust game with Him, but in the end I buckle my knees and let Him catch me totally wavered instead of standing firm in my trust and falling un-buckled into His arms. Notice He still catches me! I am the one not playing the game right. (Please don't get me wrong, God does not play games, this is just a metaphor.)

Two weeks ago God convicted me of my sin. I don't know how to explain it other than to tell you it was the Holy Spirit. With our last paycheck (which we get every 2 weeks) I set up the church as a "payee" on my banking online and I wrote a 10% check to the church before I even opened the other payees. It felt good, but it was a little scary, and to be quite honest it wasn't that much money. There was still enough to pay the bills, but really none to speak of as leftovers, but this is not unusual.

I still trust God's promise to me, but I know it will be in His time and not mine. I think He must have more for me to learn about money before He can trust me with more. I know our finances will change in a mighty way-- which means He will do it, not Ernie or me.

Going back to my trust game metaphor let me point something out. It is a phrase we use, well religiously almost and it is a phrase that I hear so, so often. "We always have the credit cards to fall back on." It seems I have no problem falling un-buckled into the arms of the credit card company.


  1. brave post, my friend, and an issue near to my heart. have you ever thought about taking dave ramsey's financial peace course? it was...eye opening, to say the least. i've had some struggles with giving cheerfully this year, as our paycheck has been on it's own special roller coaster of doubt. ironic, since just last year it finally hit me that when i sign over that check, i'm really saying that i trust God to be doubly generous- He gave it to us once, He'll more than cover it's lack when we give it back to him. He can handle His own finances and is giving me the chance to see that.

  2. Here is a God thing for you... One of our new couple-friends and even neighbors have taught this class, have studied under him and have a very similar story as him. They are quickly becoming dear friends in only a few times of hanging out together (She is in our homeschool group) and He is a personal finance coach in the style of Dave Ramsey... if that is how you would state it. It is a God thing that they have become part of our lives. Just keep us in your prayers that we will wait patiently for God's promise and keep trusting him.

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWgR3GSFe-Q

    Go to this youtube video and know why I tell all! If I didn't hate opening web pages with music blaring this would be my theme song!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Thank you for your comment.

    In my post I pointed out that there is not a set amount He expects of us, but that He wants us to trust in Him. I choose to give now upfront my first fruits to present Him my trust as an offering. I chose the 10% because it is an even round number, not because I think He expects 10%. My sin was the fact I was not trusting Him completely.

    I know in my faithfulness to Him I will be blessed whether financially or just a closer relationship with Him. He is first and foremost in our family and after that our family needs (He is the provider not us!).

    If someone steals my cloak I will not withhold from him my tunic as well. Which means I might be naked... Sometimes sacrificial giving is hard...

    I really do not think the reference to Timothy is talking about not giving money to God as first fruits... It is rebuking family for not caring for their own-- you know like some who just throw mom and dad as aged as they are in a home and leave it at that because they are too busy with their own lives to take care of a aged widow...

    I agree with you on Biblical stewardship and seeking the Holy Spirit to guide us in giving. He led me to give from the top of my paycheck. This way I would not waste small amounts here and there on coffee, more expensive bread, fast food...when I can do without and give to His work instead.

  6. In the Old Testament, firstfruits offerings means the first of the FRUIT - the fruit from the crops, NOT income. In every instance in the OT, firstfruits means crops.

    God NEVER asked for the first of anything man ever made or earned. The tithe, and firstfruits, BOTH came from the miraculous increase from God, NOT man's income.

    If you can't handle the truth, I guess you will also remove these comments from your blog.

  7. Gary here is the thing... 1. My blog is not about argueing. 2. Really ULC? Where they do not "stand in the way of a person and their God(s)." Where you can get a free ordination without question of faith? This is why I deleted your post. I answered it and aparently in the 2 minutes it was up you read it. I took it off when I realized the gnostic preaching. I am aware of how to tell the Truth from the gnostic truth-- or the false teachings. Trust me this post will now be permanent either.

  8. Oh, and I guess in refering to Jesus as God's Firstfruits he is a ear of corn? Jesus also said to render unto Ceasar what is Ceasars... And what about the ULC tax evasion scams...

  9. Read my comments again about firstfruits. I said OLD TESTAMENT. In the New Testament, firstfruits has a totally different meaning, but NEVER has anything to do with income.

    My ordination with ULC was nearly 30 years ago. Currently, there are pastors teaching from my materials, Bible Study classes using my material, and I am involved in research using materials from well-known theologians. My whole ministry is to point out the false teachings of tithing PLUS to teach New Testament giving as taught in the New Testament.

    My B.S. Degree in Accounting from Fresno State College along with a career as an income tax auditor gives me insight into this topic that others don't have; such as, knowing the difference between assets and income. I have help many pastors understand what the Bible really teaches about finances.

  10. P.S. - I was not involved in any tax evasion scams. At no time has the ULC provided me any information that would have encouraged me to be involved in anything like that. In fact, as a tax auditor I audited many phony minister-church scams. I am a God loving born again believer and use my ministry as a way to give back to God. I don't sell my books - I give them away. I don't charge for financial advice/help - I give my time to those who want to take advantage of my knowledge in this area. Pastors have referred members of their church to me for financial guidance.

    I say this just to let you know that I am not some uneducated phony minister. I am a professional Certified Money and Finance Minister and have given classes at different churches of different denominations.

  11. Thank you again, maybe you should re-read my post as well. I was not telling anyone they have to give 10% of their income. I even pointed out that God does not have a set amount for us to give, but He expects our complete trust. That was the point of my blog post. Instead of trusting God, I have been trusting in the credit cards and my husbands income. I do give without hesitation other things to God in complete trust with no problem-- We gave up 50%+ of our income for me to stay at home and home school my children. I give so much time to my church family because I am blessed with a lot of time and love to share it. I have not afforded this same trust to my money. I have been with holding from God my trust in this area, not a specific required amount He expects.

    I have been giving like Cain and not Able. God did not reuire them to give, but they gave anyway. God saw the doubt in Cain's heart and rejected His gift. He has seen my heart filled with doubt that we will have enough. His is suffucient and will provide... He always has and for some reason I was still hanging onto a small shadow of doubt. My offering is my complete trust (thus thithe in quotations). Trust is my "tithe"-- Not a required to earn my salvation 10% tithe, not a demand from a needy God 10% tithe...

  12. First fruits...quite simply...is about income. A person's harvest whether it be livestock, crops or money, or chocolate, or coffee beans or any other commodity that WAS used for...MONEY was/is first fruits. In many countries, livestock etc are still used as dowry money...because it is used as money. Old testament or New...it IS about giving from our blessings to God above who owns it all anyway.

  13. Kristen,

    I have read and studied your original blog carefully and would like the opportunity to give my thoughts.

    You said, “Here is the sin-- I have not trusted God. I don't think He has a set amount of money that He expects of us, but He expects us to trust Him, which means that if I am giving what I have leftover at the end of the month/paycheck then this is not trust!”

    It is so true that God wants us to put full trust in Him. There is no doubt in my mind about that. Here is the problem as I see it:

    Prosperity preachers make it seem that if you give to them (the church) first, God will somehow help with your finances.

    Do you believe that had you been giving generously to the church all along that your financial position would be better today? I don’t believe so.

    The problem is not giving to the church, or trusting God. The problem is proper stewardship of your finances. Good stewardship does not necessarily mean you must give to the church.

    Good stewardship of your finances requires much prayer. You should always pray and seek the Spirit before making any major purchases. It’s not a bad idea to pray before making any purchases at all. If you pray before you spend, and then follow the guidance of the Spirit, you will find your purchasing will decline. The less you spend, the more you have left to pay bills and to help others.

    When you give to the church you are basically giving to man. Consider what happens with most of the money given to any church – pay for the building, utilities, upkeep, salaries, etc. Maybe a little will be left to help the poor. Jesus said that giving to the poor or needy is giving to Him. He never said giving to the church is giving to Him. Now don’t misunderstand me. I believe anyone who attends church has a moral obligation to help pay the bills. Those attending are getting the benefits of the building, air conditioning, etc.

    The Bible says a lot about money and debt. When in debt, you become a slave to the creditor.

    Do you believe God would rather you give ten percent to the church, or do you believe God would rather you give something to the church (but not ten percent) and use the difference to pay on your debt? We are God’s children, and I am 100% sure that God would rather we take care of our own family before we give to the church or to Him and then not have enough for our family.

    Paying on debt means paying interest. The quicker you get out of debt, the less interest you will have spent, and the more you will have left to give to others.

    Once God sees you have developed good stewardship habits concerning your finances, He will trust you with more money. Until then, work on good stewardship habits and ignore all prosperity preaching that says the more you give, the more God will give you.

  14. Once again, thank you, I appreciate your thoughts. Let me tell you, God is writing the most impressive story right now that is on the precipice of a HUGE climax. I do not know the full outcome yet, but I know at this point the hope he has offered. If you continue to follow my blog you will see what I mean. God has a plan for me and He is using me and my blog in ways I never imagined. It all started as a prayer journal and a documentation of His providence. Please continue to follow my story as it is written by God because I know it will be AWESOME.

  15. Gary-- please, please go read this and keep following me!!!


    This post is illusive at best, but when I can tell the full story you will see God working His amazing story out in my life!

    I wrote the confession on the 28th, got God's call of hope on the 30th, and His confirmation today (July 11th).


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