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Sunday, June 4, was my first day out of bed and I went to Church. Our pastor shared that finances were way down because people were not tithing and that if a financial miracle did not happen soon, he would have to take a drastic measure (like across-the-board salary cuts for the Church staff or lay someone off). He did not make a big plea for money or pressure anyone to give, but he did inform us of the financial situation. He mentioned that only about 25% of the Church was tithing.
(The previous Sunday, Jack Deer had preached in Toronto. He spoke on tithing and it's relationship to our release into spiritual authority. He mentioned that we spend our money on what we value and if we are unwilling to obey God and tithe; we are telling God that we don't think He is very important. He also demonstrated from Luke 16:10-12 how God uses our financial rightness with Him (e.g., obedience in tithing) to determine whether or not He could trust us with the true riches of His authority. Jack explained that healing authority and the miraculous and even a strong renewal type of anointing all fall under the category of "true riches". At the end of that Sunday morning service in Toronto, Jack Deer said that God was going to heal some of the people with terminal cancer as a sign that this message was really from Him. Of course, I'd prayed that God would touch/heal Diana as well. Our whole Church had been praying for her for a very long time (monthes). I was deep in intercession for Diana as they were ministering to the people with terminal cancer who'd come forward for prayer. I asked God to pretend that Diana was standing in that group and to visit her with the same healing anointing. The Lord spoke to me and said, "Teresa, your Church is not tithing. That is why you (corporately) do not have authority over cancer and why Diana is not being healed." She died less than 24 hours after the Lord told me that.)
Now our pastor announced from the pulpit that we were in financial trouble because we were not tithing. I prayed about this when I got home. I figured that I already tithed, so I was "in the clear". But I started praying for a release from the things that kept the people in our Church from tithing. I also prayed that the Lord would forgive us for our disobedience as a Church and would restore our authority. Then the Lord spoke to me again and told me to "put my money where my mouth was". He told me to give a freewill offering of ten times my regular tithe above and beyond tithing. His voice was so clear that I did not have to seek Him for confirmation.
So the next day I called the Church office and talked with the person who handles the finances. I mentioned that the Lord had instructed me to give a certain sum of money and that I hoped this would help defer any salary cuts or other drastic measures. I had to come to Church for a meeting on Tuesday night, so I dropped the check off. (Ten times my normal tithe is a lot of money to me, but I was so confident that this was the Lord's will that I never gave it a second thought. I felt good about obeying the Lord on this but did not think about it very much.)
When I got home that night and went to bed, the Holy Spirit fell on me and it was as powerful as when He falls on me during a renewal meeting. I was filled with extreme joy as soon as my head hit the pillow, then I started laughing. (The Lord worked it out so that my husband was working late on the computer and I had the bedroom to myself until after 2:00 AM. It turns out that I needed it that long, as the Holy Spirit remained on me for a very long time.) I started shaking, fairly strongly. I felt like I'd just been prayed for in a renewal meeting -- in fact His presense felt stronger than many of the times I've been prayed for in renewal meetings. It was incredible fun. There did not seem to be any great purpose in this visitation, and the Lord didn't really speak much of anything to me. It was more like He was playing with me. I can't give a detailed description of what happened, but it happened for about 3 and a half hours. I felt full to overflowing and it was so good just to be in His presense. I do remember telling Him that I wish we could do this all of the time. (From time to time, God does fall on me at home, but usually it is not as powerful as in a renewal meeting. This seemed to be more powerful than anything I'd ever experienced at home before.)
When I woke up the next morning, I was still laughing. I remember wondering why the Lord fell on me so powerfully that night. It wasn't until I started writing this description that the Lord showed me that this was a blessing because of my obedience in giving the offering He told me to give.
On Thursday at work, my boss walked into my office and handed me a check for twice the amount of money that I'd given to the Church. It was a totally unexpected bonus.
It did not even occur to me that this was because I had given an offering to my Church. I figured that the offering was an "intercessory act". I truly did not expect anything back from God; I was just obeying what He told me to do.
The next day, the Lord spoke to me and told me about the relationship He said that He is eager to demonstrate to His kids that the principles that He laid down in the Bible really do work just the way He said they would. He said that I was to teach this to the body. (I have not figured out how to do this yet, but I'm trusting God to give me the opportunity.)
Since I wrote this up (on Monday June 12), the Lord has in fact worked out an opportunity to share this message with the Body. I briefly told this story to my pastor (about giving the offering and getting back twice the amount in an unexpected bonus). On Tuesday evening, I was invited to give a brief (3 minute) testimony about it in next Sunday morning's service. It looks like the Lord is opening doors to teach the body that His financial principles really do work.
Another "pressed down, shaken together, not enough room to receive it" blessing also happened yesterday. The coolant alarm had been going off regularly in our car for several weeks and we figured that we needed a radiator repair -- a minimum of $200.00. We took the car in yesterday. It turned out to be a faulty gasket and a loose hose and the total cost of the repair (including diagnostic fee and labor and parts) was under $17.00. (A $17.00 car repair might be a bigger miracle than receiving a bonus for 2 times the amount of the offering!!!)
Isn't God exciting!!!
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