It has been more than three weeks since we have posted and much longer since I personally have posted. Many people have probably ceased reading these posts since we are no longer traveling from country to country doing the Lord’s work as He opens the doors. Before I begin talking about giving, I want to first reflect on who really needs Jesus? Does the poor Cambodian girl living in the trash dump need Jesus more than the middle class American business man that spends more time working than with his family so he can get provide for them the necessities and all the extras (cars, boats, bigger houses, better clothes…)?
This time of the year, it seems that we are consumed with the extras, the things we do not really need. Black Friday is a tribute to this focus with too many people fighting over saving some money on the things that are not really needed. People die so that somebody’s son, daughter, brother, sister can get the extra they wanted but did not really need. Now, a few days after Christmas, no one is really happier and the extras are on the floor. Many people are ready to get away from their families because they are annoyed and have frustrations with them. Soon, they will return home and 90% of these extras will sit on a shelf, in a drawer, or in storage gathering dust. Who really needs Jesus more? We Americans who have it all and the extras or the those who have nothing but will give you whatever they have willingly?
As I was reading this week, it is interesting that God had me reading in 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 the day after Christmas. These two chapters are talking all about giving, and I encourage you to read and meditate on them. Here, Paul speaks about a church that promised to give beyond their ability out of a generous heart. He describes this gift as the fellowship of ministering to the saints. He then goes on to say that even as they abound in important things (faith, knowledge, love), they should increase in the grace of giving just the same. Is the act of increasing in knowledge, faith, and love more important than increasing in giving???
In Vs. 15 of chapter 8, Paul uses a verse that was originally used about manna in Exodus to talk about giving. “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.” As I was reading this, I got revelation of a couple things. First, God gives us the things we need to go throughout our day. Both in the physical and in the spiritual. Not that revelatory, but worth mentioning. Second, some of the things He gives me are actually to help someone else make it through their day. If I have an abundance, and someone else has need, what I have is for them. What does it profit me to hoard that thing and save it for a rainy day or something I might need in the future if my brother is in need? The manna in Exodus rotted, and I do not want what God has given to rot, so I should be intentional about giving away what I do not need both in the physical and in the spiritual.
Finally, in Vs. 7-10 of chapter 9, it seems to me that Paul is saying that if we give with a joyful spirit, then God is able to make His grace increase toward us. We must have our giving with a right heart in order before we overflow with grace and abundance for every good work. Also, he talks about God giving us seed and bread, and how He multiplies the seed that has been sown to increase the fruits of righteousness. It does not say He multiplies the bread, but the seed. He does not multiply all the seed, but the seed that is sown and that is how the fruit of righteousness is increased in our lives. I would much rather have abundant fruit than just a little bit of seed and bread.
I want to return to the question I asked, who needs Jesus more? The answer is that both the poorest of the poor living in the trash dump and the middle class American that has the extras need Jesus. I could even argue that we as Americans have a greater need for Him because we can look to ourselves to work for and provide what we need. Some people, no matter how hard they work, will never have what they need. These people have to trust in something or Someone outside of themselves to get them through. I encourage you to meditate on chapters 8-9 in 2 Corinthians and discover the gift of giving that God has given us. It is not only for them, but it is for us. What is the proof of our faith and love? What is pure religion (James 1:27)? What do we have that others need? What has God given you for others that you have decided to hoard up for yourself? What is rotting in your storehouse that is meant for others? Joyously, give out what God has given you to give so that abundant fruit of righteousness may come to you and all the blessings that go along with it!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
The Lord has brought Jeremiah and I on a long journey this past year and a half since we got married. A journey that has forever marked us and set us on a path of no return, a wild and crazy adventure to be discovered. This odyssey brought along with it extreme stretching and growth, an increase in reliance on God, joy, tears, adventure, fun, excitement, hardships, and more than can be expressed in words on paper (or in a blog.) Because of our diligence and obedience, our loving and faithful Father has rewarded us on so many levels and has entrusted us to new and bigger things; the greatest of which is new life. Yes, that’s right, He has made us parents of the most wonderful blessing.
Our little gift growing in my womb is the fulfillment of a promise God spoke to me while we were on our 9 month-long faith journey around the world. You see, before Jeremiah and I were married, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS. This means that small cysts form on the ovaries leading to hormonal imbalance. Often insulin resistance leading to diabetes is a result of that. PCOS is incurable and over time can affect a woman’s fertility greatly along with many other life altering consequences including developing uterine cancer, heart disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, etc. Being a woman who is called by God to be a mother, I could have let this greatly discourage me and affect the way I dealt with things, especially since this was the second chronic diagnosis I had received in my life. Instead of settling for what had been spoken over me, I refused and believed the Lord for my healing. Psalm 91:1-3 states, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.”
I felt that I was supposed to continue taking the medicine the doctor gave me when we left the U.S. I clearly heard the Lord speak to me while we were traveling that I was healed so I would petition Him to stop taking the meds, however each time He told me to continue taking them. At one point, He even told me that He gave me 7 months of the meds purposely and to finish them out, revealing to me that 7 is the number of completion and perfection. From then on, I waited on Him and held that word. We were in India the end of March when I took my last pill and had felt God leading me to pray and fast for myself, believing for my healing. That this would be when I would see my body work properly. During this special time with Him, He revealed to me the gender of our child and the name very clearly, confirming it many times.
I claimed that promise and kept it close to my heart, awaiting the day that it would come to fruition, for one of my deepest desires was to be a mother. I thought it would come quicker than it did, and I would become somewhat discouraged when it didn’t. I am so thankful for my Husband, for he encouraged me every time that God was revealing to me that I really was healed as I saw my body worked perfectly. God only made me wait 3 months to bring His promise about, and interestingly enough, a total of 10 months…perfection of divine order.
I found out I was pregnant when I got back from England in July and we have been more than blessed to see fruit coming forth from God’s promise. And boy, was it a joyful day having my 19 week sonogram revealing that just as He said about 8 months ago, we would be having a sweet baby boy, baby Azariah!!! 🙂 We are overflowing with joy for all that Daddy has in store for our little miracle, for He has already used our child to minister to many people from the womb. This adventure He has us on has only gotten more exciting and adventurous! “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
Katie, Pure Fire of Yahweh!!!