Our lives have been full of blessings, too many to list here! Because I work at home, my days are filled with family, friends, church, the outdoors and yes, some work as well! Let me share with you the story of one our greatest blessings... how God has honored obedience in our family finances.
Tithing (giving back to God) in my life, began long ago. My parents taught me as a young child about tithing, stewardship, and that God owned 100% of all we have, not just 10%. I began tithing on my 35 cent weekly allowance. They taught me to round up when I tithed...so I gave a nickel instead of 3 1/2 cents! Mom said "you can't out give" God and I have seen that all my life. Malachi 3 says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse...Test me in this, says the Lord, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Fast forward to 1983. When Julie and I married, we had 2 great incomes and we tithed but we weren't great stewards of the other 90 percent. We didn't completely honor God with ALL we had and I remembered how my parents were faithful tithers AND stewards. I wanted the security and peace of mind they enjoyed that came from being obedient with ALL they had. A couple of years later, our church (Lake Arlington Baptist) had a financial freedom seminar that we attended. God spoke to us and renewed the desire in our hearts to be better stewards. Though we had no children, we were led to become a one-income family. My wife quit her job and our income was reduced by 50 percent. However, the quality of our life soared by 500 percent because she was a homemaker now. We were told by the Lord to get rid of car payments. (By the way...little did we know at the time that we would become advocates and teachers of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University!). With His strength, we did, and our faith and desire to please Him grew. Three years and 2 children later, I lost my job of 10 years. We turned to our Heavenly Father and He provided for us in surprising ways. He gave me a job very close to home but at a reduced salary! Our household income was down to a fourth of what it was a few years before with twice the mouths to feed. God continued teaching us to depend on Him and He showed us that our quality of life was more important than the quantity of money we had.
Luke 12 says ..."a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions". About that time I became involved in a weekly Bible study-accountability group with some godly men at church and my spiritual walk deepened.
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart".
The desire that God put into our hearts was to be totally debt free and to "owe no man anything". Let no debt remain outstanding" as it says in Romans. We wanted to be able to use all of our time, money and talents just as He wanted us to, without being restricted by financial obligations to others. Proverbs 27 says, "The borrower is servant to the lender". I also longed for more time at home with my family. Well, be careful what you pray for! The company I worked for dissolved that fall and suddenly I had PLENTY of time with the family! My daily dependence on the Heavenly Father increased and He showed us it was time to fulfill a dream that I'd had since college. I began my own ad agency out of the house. I needed God's guidance more than ever before because I was no longer getting that thing called a "steady paycheck" from somebody else! I have to tell you that my daily time with Him became the top priority in my life. God began revealing his promises to me as I spent more and more time in His word. "In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."
"Do not just listen to the Word, do what it says...The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives FREEDOM and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it, he will be blessed in what he does". James 1.
Through the years, I have experienced answered prayer after answered prayer and received countless blessings. By no means, is my emphasis on just the financial part of our life, but instead, on my walk with God and in the peace that passes all understanding. We have been obedient to Him and He has granted the desires of my heart that I believe He placed there to begin with, just because I was delighting myself in Him! I have spent more time with my family and been to more summer camps with my children than the law should allow, yet my business prospers even in my absence! He multiplies our single income in a manner that can only be attributed to Him fulfilling the promises He has shown me in scripture. God has honored my wife being at home all these years for our children and as the perfect helpmate for ME!
In 2001, the Lord kept another promise to us. Earlier I told you that it was our desire to owe no man anything. Well, we were able to pay off our mortgage and now we are no longer obligated to anyone ...only to God. WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!...as Dave Ramsey says.
Proverbs 3 says "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of ALL your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing."
"O, Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness, you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago" - Jeremiah 33.
My family and I know of His promises and we also know what it is to live in obedience to Him with all we have.
And He is so faithful.
- Thanks for reading!