The Bible is very clear about tithing a tenth of our income. We are to give back ten percent of what we have been blessed with to The One who gave it to us in the first place. One day while I was spending some alone time with God, he challenged me. He told me that if I was to give a portion of my income, then why wouldn’t I do the same with my time? That question shifted my perspective in regards to giving God the time He deserves. We are given twenty-four hours in a day, so if we use the ten percent rule of tithing, we should be giving God two hours and forty minutes. As followers of Christ our alone time with our Heavenly Father is crucial to the depth of that relationship. The more one on one time we spend with Him, the deeper the relationship. Think about it this way, if you are dating or married it is crucial to spend alone time together to keep the relationship alive and thriving. Failure to do so would result in the death of that relationship. Or think of it from a food standpoint. You cannot eat one meal a week and expect that to provide the nutrients necessary to fuel your body for an entire week. So why do we as Christians think that going to church on Sunday is enough food for our souls the remaining six days of the week? Well, it isn’t. God created us for relationships and our relationship with Him must be our top priority if we want to live the Godly lives He created us for.
My challenge to you is to put God to the test in this area. In Malachi 3:10, God says, “Test me in this 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.” He promises that if we tithe what He requires of us, His blessing will overflow.
Once you have started this challenge, please share your experiences and stories as a result of taking sure a bold move in your walk with Christ.
Over the years, God has been speaking to me very subtly. His voice would start as a soft whisper and over time it would magnify into a loud roar if I didn’t catch on in a timely fashion. Most of the time I caught on at the whisper stage, but then there were times that I needed to hear Him yell to get the point.
I had just purchased the car of my dreams and had been toying with the idea of a personalized license plate. I wanted something that would be a testimony to others. After brainstorming for a couple of days, I thought “I’m His” would be perfect. I procrastinated a little too long and the dealer plates arrived. I placed them on the trunk of my car to install and got sidetracked with the kids. Later that day I went to the grocery store. It wasn’t until I arrived back home that I realized the plates were left on the car and were now gone. I drove my route hoping to find them on the road somewhere between my house and the store, but no luck. So I ordered replacements. Two weeks later my plates arrived and I opened them to see 850 HYS. My heart stopped. Was this for real? I thought I was seeing things. At that moment I knew God had something very important he wanted to share with me. I went straight to my bible in search of verse 50 in chapter 8.
Before I tell you what I found, you need to know what was going on at that moment in my life. I was married to a man with a sexual addiction. In my brokenness, I had justified certain behaviors of my own. The lines between right and wrong had turned from black and white to grey in our household. After years of pain, instead of relying solely on God to comfort me, I found comfort in things that never gave me what I was longing for. I turned to friends for ungodly advice, spent countless hours easing my pain with shopping, and even turned to another man to meet my needs for emotional support.
I found three verses in the entire bible with a chapter 8, verse 50. All three of them hit my like a ton of bricks. 1 Kings 8:50 says, “Forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all the offenses they have committed against you.” The moment I read the verse, I realized my pain and agony had not subsided because I had unforgiveness and fear in my heart. I had forgiven myself but I was holding captive the forgiveness towards my spouse because I didn’t want to get hurt again. Luke 8:50 says, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” This verse was God’s way of telling me to trust Him and believe that He had a plan for me and that He would meet all of my needs. John 8:50 says, “I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.” Through this verse, He revealed that He is the judge, not me.
God took something he placed in my heart and used it to teach me a very valuable lesson that day. Healing will never take place the way God intended for it to until we forgive others the way He forgives us, trust Him and believe His promises, and let Him be the judge of those who disobey.
If you find yourself in pain, whether it is the result of your own sin or the sin of someone else, know that God is right there waiting for you to give it all to Him. He is the only one that can heal and restore what Satan has tried to destroy.
We live in a world that is constantly telling us to “follow our hearts.” We see it in movies, on television, reality shows, even hear it in the music we listen to. And for years I did just that. If I felt something, I believed that it must be God’s voice speaking to me, so I let my “feelings” be my guide. In January of 2007, I learned something that put me on a new path.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things.” I learned that our emotions, our feelings, are not always reliable or even accurate, certainly if damaged. Because the heart is our control center, our emotions play a major part in our reactions and decision-making process. This scripture opened my eyes to the lies I had been believing all my life about following my heart. An injured heart is Satan’s playground. When he is able to gain access, he toys with our emotions, whispering lies to our ears. Wow! That is a scary thought, certainly knowing that my heart was severely injured. I had been allowing Satan to play around in my life for way too long.
That one scripture took my life, flipped it upside down, and forced me to reevaluate everything I had ever believed. It was then that God started revealing to me all of the unhealthy relationships I was surrounded by due to my own ignorance of following my own heart instead of listening to God’s. It has taken me years to clear out the lies and replace them with His truth.
The following was my prayer to God on January 12, 2010, exactly three years after discovering this truth.
Today I begin as a new creation. My past has kept me in fear for long enough. On this day, I give it completely to you. The past few days have shaken me to the core, afraid of so many things I have no control over. Thank you God for speaking into me in ways that get my attention. You always know exactly what I need, at the very moment I need it. Three days in a row you woke me up at 5:51am. I searched for the word you had for me a few days ago and couldn’t find anything. Today started out rough. My heart is burdened with so many things. The man I love has a new baby with another woman. The man I loved for 15 years has damaged me so much that I am afraid of getting hurt all over again. My mind has become Satan’s playground for about four days now and today it ends. Satan, you are a liar and a thief. I will no longer allow you to steal my joy and peace. God, thank you for your unending love and patience. You love me like no man ever can and I need you to carry me through my fears and insecurities. So today I opened Bible Gateway and went straight to Psalm 55:1. I couldn’t stop there. The entire chapter spoke to me. It says, “This is my prayer, please hear my cry for help. Please listen and answer me, my troubles overwhelm me. Satan is yelling at me, threatening my very happiness. He brings fear and angrily hunts me down. My heart aches and the fear of hurt takes me over. Fear and trembling overwhelm me and I can’t stop shaking. I need to find rest in you. I must escape this storm.” That is my prayer.
That was my breaking point. It took me three long, painful years for it to finally click. I knew that my heart was deceitful, but I still trusted it way to often. After my divorce, I quickly jumped into a relationship with a man I thought God had put in my life for a reason. I was wrong. Satan had his hands tightly around my heart, just waiting to destroy me. His lies and schemes put me right back in a place I swore I would never return to. And it was all because I was listening to my heart instead of focusing on healing it.
I share this in hopes of helping others. If you have been hurt in the past, instead of running to the next quick fix, turn to your creator. Only He can mend your broken heart and make it whole again.