Monday, November 26, 2012

Money on the Move – Part 2 of 4

Please read Part 1, if you haven't already.

On our first morning there, they invited us to their apartment for breakfast. We could tell by the questions they asked us that they thought we were crazy to make the trip to Japan without concrete arrangements. When we had finished eating, they read their morning Bible devotional with us. The topic happened to be about faith and trusting God for the impossible.

We were about to pray together when the wife mentioned that Japan was experiencing a serious drought (the year was 1996). It had become a national crisis. As we bowed our heads in prayer, I asked the Lord to please bring rain. The wife looked out the window, and the next thing she saw was a pedestrian pulling out an umbrella. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Perhaps God had sent us there for that short time just to refresh them in the area of their faith.

Having heard our heart for Tokyo, they felt moved to connect us with another missionary family, who invited us for dinner. We discovered that the husband was the overseer of all the regional mission organizations. They were just the right people to learn from and they eagerly shared from some of their years of experience with us. We mentioned that we were on a short-term visit and they invited us to come and stay at their house for a week.

The following morning we said our goodbyes to the first missionary couple that had welcomed us to Tokyo. They gave us a little Japanese outfit for the baby on its way and surprisingly told us that we didn’t need to pay for our stay. We went onto our new host family and continued to learn much from them. While we were there, they arranged for us to stay with a Japanese family for a week so that we could have first-hand experience of Japanese culture. This turned out to be our toughest week emotionally and spiritually, but we learned a lot.
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Money on the Move – Part 1 of 4

Before I got married, the Lord gave me the promise in scripture where Jesus tells His disciples not to worry about what they would eat and drink or what they would wear. As long as they sought God’s Kingdom first, the Lord would take care of the rest (Luke 12:22-31). I knew that God was speaking directly to me in regard to my upcoming marriage and the life we would lead. We were to keep our hearts passionate about God’s things, and He would look after us.

My husband and I chose to take God at His word. If getting married without financial security was His idea, then we were going to have to trust Him. We were willing to take the leap of faith.

This decision was tested many times. One particular occasion was when we heard God tell us to go to Tokyo, Japan, for a short-term outreach. We were not joining a team. It was just going to be the two of us, and I was going to be six months pregnant with our first child. When we arrived in Japan, there was no one to meet us and nowhere to go. We thought we might make contact with a Japanese friend, but that idea fell through. We had only about $200 and this was to last us for one month.

We had to rely totally on God. At this point we needed a place to stay for the night at least. We looked in a telephone directory and found a mission organization that we felt inspired to phone. An American missionary couple in charge said they had place for us and the husband would meet us at the train station. They told us that they rarely took in people who weren’t affiliated with their organization. We spent our first two nights in one of their spacious apartments, knowing that all their missionaries were expected to pay for accommodation. We decided not to tell anyone about our financial status as we believed the Lord was going to provide somehow.
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Poem - Crumbs or Steak

Tell me, who knows the mind of the Lord that we should offer Him counsel?
If He has told us a thing, is it not true?
Either we believe God or we place His wisdom on a mantel,
Which is like living our lives in an old, smelly shoe.

What has He promised for His beloved daughters and sons?
Did He not say that He would take care of each and every one?
So why are we so busy eating the crumbs
When God wants us to live a life of joy and even have fun?

We easily get focused on what our needs are
That we forget to seek God’s Kingdom first.
When we get our priorities right and up to par,
Then God will give us a marvelous thirst.

We’ll begin to see the needs of others around
And God will fill us with living water that will always abound.
To seek His Kingdom first is to be eating that steak,
And to discover a life of faith, believe God, it’s no mistake.

Photo and poem by Christina Morley
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Sunday, November 4, 2012

God’s Money – Part 3 of 3

The Word of God speaks over and over again about money matters. He knows that we have practical needs. There have been many times in my married life when my husband and I needed to see God come through financially and materially. Our first few years of marriage were especially challenging. I remember a couple of times that I fasted when the money ran out, asking God literally for milk money.

Our giving to the Lord was more haphazard in those days. Sometimes we gave generously, but often we gave below the tithe. When it came to money, we didn’t always seek His Kingdom first. We figured God didn’t want us to go without and we needed the money more than He did. However, we learnt that the tithe helps us consistently to seek His Kingdom first with our money and to trust Him to provide our needs. The tithe is only the foundation for giving. There are also other ways to give.

One day, God convicted me about this through the story of the widow in the Bible who gave her last penny (Mark 12:41-44). Why did she give her last penny? She knew God would take care of her. As I was pondering this, I sat convicted, but at that point I had no money to give. I just didn’t have eyes to see past my own predicament. That’s when I felt God prompting me to look at what I did have instead of what I didn’t have. The only things I could think of that God might be able to use were the baby clothes. By now I had already had two children, a boy and a girl, so there was plenty. In obedience, I packed baby clothes, baby accessories, plus maternity wear. Then, my husband and I drove to the nearest crisis pregnancy center, which was in another town, and blessed them with the things.

Sometimes giving to God or others is not going to be easy. Sometimes it’s going to require faith and sacrifice. When we were struggling because we didn’t have enough money, we realized that we weren’t giving to God what was His. The best decision we’ve ever made was to make tithing a lifestyle, not an option.
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