If anyone knows my wife Carolyn, she ALWAYS has a fresh miracle story of how God provides for our family. In my books, I’ve shared miracle stories about how she trusted God for lawn-mowers and snowblowers – but, we’ve got dozens more: from Disney vacations, to our home & furniture, to our kid’s braces… she continues to amaze me with her trust in the Lord and the crazy stories of how God provides. So, I asked her to guest blog a few thoughts that will stimulate your faith:
“I love to be generous. Sometimes I’m probably too generous. But I just love to give.
At our church Substance, we’re preparing for our “Imagine Offering” – a campaign to help accelerate our vision to reach more lost people. But every time we do it as a church, God is always challenging my faith. I’ve noticed over the years, generosity doesn’t start with resources as much as faith. I.e., When I talk to my husband about what we’re planning on giving, the question isn’t: “How much extra cash do we have available to give?” as much as, “How much extra cash does GOD HAVE to give through me?”
To put it another way: Quite often, I always prayed “multiplication prayers.” E.g., “Lord, here are my meager loaves & fishes. Would you multiply them to feed the masses.” It’s Biblical (Matthew 14, Luke 9, John 6), And there’s nothing wrong with these prayers. But recently as I have been reading the book of Hebrews, God has been speaking to me about other types of “provision prayers.”
Hebrews 11:3 says that “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.”
In other words, our current world is filled with things that came from NOTHING. God didn’t just “multiply” what already existed. Rather, he spoke creative words that made something out of nothing. This scripture really challenged me. Instead of just looking at my own resources and asking God to multiply them, I sensed God challenging me to take my faith to a new level. I.e., Don’t merely create more loaves and fish. Lord, supernaturally provide lasagna! I realize it might sound absurd. But I believe God likes these types of bold prayers too.
For example, in the back of my mind, I’ve still been thinking about our upcoming offering & what we should personally give. If I can be vulnerable, this year has been intense with our finances. We’ve had over $16,000 in medical bills and we’ve been really generous with past Imagine offerings. As I was looking at my bank accounts there really wasn’t extra to give. As I was having a frustrated conversation with the Lord about it, He gently reminded me of a scripture in II Corinthians 9:10-11 which says that ‘He supplies seed to the sower AND bread for food.” The entire passage is all about a special offering – a reminder to the Corinthian people that God can provide our gifts out of nothing – (which is rather profound as we move towards the Christmas season). But here’s how:
“10 Now [God] who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
As a fun example of this: a few years ago I had a friend who was pregnant. Keep in mind, I love fashion & clothing shopping, so pregnancy was always a challenge with my wardrobe. (side note: I am a firm believer that every woman should have at least $300 to invest in an incredible maternity wardrobe, so she can feel good about herself amidst all the changes in her body. ) So this friend of mine didn’t have any extra finances to buy maternity clothes. I wanted to give her $300 but we didn’t have an extra $300. I went to the Lord & told him I wanted to be generous to my friend, but that I didn’t have the money. I asked God if He would provide extra money SO I could be generous to my friend. A week later we had a plumbing issue in our house. I had actually budgeted $800 for the repair. After the plumber came to our house, we got the bill and it was paid in full by someone else! Of course I was ecstatic. But guess what my first thought was? I now have money to give to my friend! I knew in my heart that God indeed provided that additional money in our budget SO we could be generous.
So it’s critical you understand: God wants to supply two things for us:
(1). Seeds to sow; (2). Bread to eat
God knows that we all have needs. We all need to eat (pay our bills). But He also wants to provide SEED that we can sow. But the Apostle Paul didn’t stop here. He actually explains how to keep these “seeds” and “bread” coming. To be specific, these blessings continue as we (1). Live generously; and (2). Keep a positive attitude about it. Check it out:
“6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” II Corinthians 9:6-9
I.e., God is trying to lure us into a system of “happy generosity” that will continually result in more praise. God’s grace isn’t merely limited to salvation; but, it extends to both our financial needs – including our need to continually bless other people! How fun is that!?
So if you want to be a part of this grace cycle in your finances, let me pray for you.
“God I thank you for your extravagant love & generosity towards us. Thank you for teaching us in your Word about how we are to give. I ask right now that you would supply seed to the sower & bread for food. Would you increase the store of our seed SO that we can be generous on every occasion? We want to see a large harvest of righteousness, of Kingdom impact as a result of our obedience & trust in You. I ask for miracle stories as a result of this moment. Would you stretch our faith. Would you surprise us with your provision. We love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
For More Content from Carolyn, follower her on twitter: @carolynhaas or on Instagram: @CarolynAkHaas