People often falsely assume everything that happens must be God’s will because He is God. You’ve probably heard the phrases, “Everything happens for a reason,” or “God allowed it.” Or God is sovereign when talking about sickness, disease or evil on the earth. I personally don’t like these sayings because to me it sounds like God is responsible for all the bad things that happen in this world. more “Is God Really to Blame?”
God tells us He is ready to perform His Word in Jeremiah 1:12. When will He perform it? The simple answer is, when we believe. Jesus fulfilled all The Father had for Him to do on earth and declared on The Cross, “It is finished,” (John 19:30). God is ready and Jesus finished the work on earth, so now it is up to us to demonstrate to the world that He is alive in us. “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us,” (Phil 4:13).
We have opportunities every day to encourage people and plant seeds of revival all around us in our sphere of influence. I am asking The Lord to open my eyes to these opportunities. It’s exciting to see what happens! I look at it like a treasure hunt with the treasures all around us in plain sight. We just need the right mind set of expectation to see them.
The concept of faith promise giving was shared with us at the Olympia Lacey Church of God about a year after we moved to Olympia (read about our move in our previous blog “Recognizing God’s Hand” from April 15, 2017 for another encouraging story). A faith promise is asking and hearing from God an amount of money He wants to flow through you into a particular ministry. You commit in writing to a time period the money will come into your possession and be given to a specific ministry. This promised money is something you do not currently have, as it is a gift from the Lord directed toward Kingdom work.
The story of our faith promise commitment began about a year after we moved to Olympia from Vancouver, Washington in 1978. We started attending the Olympia Lacey Church of God located directly across the street from our house. (The church is still located there and has grown and expanded their facilities, and the little house we lived in was sold and there is a gas station and mini mart there now.) While attending the church, missionaries to China came who were raising funds to translate the Bible to Chinese. They were raising the funds by “Faith Promise” commitments.
The missionaries shared for a couple of Sundays about the work in China and what was needed to get the Bible translated. We were asked to pray and ask The Lord for an amount of money He would bring to us specifically to give directly for the China mission to translate the Bibles. Since the money was to come from outside our known resources it was easy for us because we only had $10.00 in our savings account which we had to leave there to keep the account open. Our income was already, shall I say, scheduled.
Bill and I talked and prayed together and were impressed to believe God for $500.00. He would provide this through us in some way, supernaturally, before the end of the year. We were excited and believing for the money, knowing God would do it! The Sunday came to fill out a card pledging the faith promise amount. Bill and I were in separate services that day because we were teaching different classes. We hadn’t thought about this minor detail and we both filled out a card for $500.00. When we got home and realized what we had done we just laughed. We thought if God is the one supplying the $500.00 then $1,000 isn’t really over His budget. Then the church called on Monday and asked if we wanted them to tear up one of the commitments. We said no, we would go with the $1,000.
During the months to follow, people would testify that when it came time to buy the things they needed, those items were on sale so they could put the money they saved towards their faith promise. We were happy with them for the way God was supplying the money, but for us, that was a way God regularly provided for us. If we needed shoes or household items, we would end up at a store that was having a huge sale that we didn’t even know about. Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I knew it was God providing our needs and I was very grateful! I sensed deep inside that we were going to receive the $1,000 all at one time and I had absolutely no idea how it would happen! God always met our family needs.
As the months passed by a major need surfaced for a dependable car. We had a 1966 Dodge Coronet station wagon that was deteriorating before our eyes. It leaked around the doors and grew mushrooms in the floor mats in the winter. The defrosters stopped working so we had to wipe the windshield inside when the window fogged up. Bill had tried to rebuild the carburetor; he is a good man but not a mechanic. We were a two-car family but the other car was a Vega, which Bill called the “first disposable car”. Bill drove it to work each day but in order to make it to work and back, he had to clean the sparks plugs every night. We didn’t have a carport or garage so in the winter I would hold a flashlight and umbrella so Bill could be a bit dry and see to clean the spark plugs.
I became increasingly concerned that we would be able to give the promised $1,000 in joy when it came because of the personal needs we had. I asked the Lord to fill our hearts with joy when the money came so we could give it gladly to further His Kingdom. Now it is into December and the money commitment was due by the end of the year. Other people fulfilled their commitments in various ways and we were happy for them. I believe it was the gift of faith working in me because I just knew inside that God would do it in one lump sum.
I went to our rural mailbox in about mid-December and there was a check from a place we had received small checks from before. The check was for approximately $2,300 and there was no explanation with it. Wow! Needless to say, I was really excited! It turned out the company had discovered an ongoing mistake had been made and they owed us the money. YES! God not only provided the $1,000, which we gave in JOY, but enough to fill the need for a dependable car. God is so faithful and gracious!
Bill sold the Vega to a friend for $100 and he rebuilt the engine for his son. We bought a nice station wagon with the rest of the money and the total cost of the vehicle, tax, license etc. came to exactly what was left after paying the faith promise commitment. Since there are no coincidences, thank You, Jesus for Your Signature on Your gift to us!
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says The Lord of hosts;”
–Malachi 3: 10-11 (NKJV)
This was the beginning of major blessings from The Lord in our lives! I encourage you to hold steadfast the promises the Lord made to you and wait expectantly for Him to deliver!
My hope is that sharing our story of how God guided us and worked things together for our good that didn’t necessarily look like they were good in the moment will encourage you to continue believing for the desires you have not yet seen manifest!
Bill and I were living in Vancouver, Washington 39 years ago. He was working for the Department of Transportation and we started praying and believing for a promotion. We knew that it would mean we would have to re-locate to Olympia. The way things worked out when he got the promotion was we had one day we could go to Olympia and find housing. We were believing for The Lord to guide us to our next home, close to the Department of Transportation and the capitol. The legislature was in session and the Satsop project was going on so there wasn’t a lot of housing available. When we arrived in Olympia we purchased a local newspaper and started calling and checking out the available housing, none of them were a fit due to size, location, or just too expensive.
It was getting late in the day and we decided to just drive around the area. We came around the corner of Lacey Blvd and Ruddell Rd and saw a hand made sign, “House for Rent”. We pulled into the driveway, but the door was locked. As we were preparing to drive away a car drove up next to us; it was the owner and she asked if we wanted to see the house. We went inside and she showed us through the house. It was 900 square feet and had 3 very small bedrooms and one small bathroom. The kitchen was a very small area just wide enough for a sink and cupboards on one side and a stove on the other, and just a slot big enough for a table and chairs on the other end of the room. It did have a very large fenced backyard (nice if you like living outside) a cherry tree (which Amy fell out of and broke her arm), a playhouse, and an attached garage.
I was picturing all 6 of us crammed into this little house on the corner of a busy street and really didn’t want to rent it. Bill and I talked privately for a minute and then another person walked into the house and said to the owner, “is this house for rent?”. The owner looked at us and Bill looked at me, I nodded and Bill said, “we’ll take it”. In the natural this was not an exciting outcome. Little did I know the wonderful, amazing blessing God had prepared for us in the years to come, and it all started with this tiny house I didn’t want and submitting to my husband’s lead.
Bill was relieved that we had a house to move into but instead of being grateful, I was thinking about how to downsize from a 4-bedroom house with a huge living room, separate kitchen upstairs, and basement to a 900 sq. ft. house. Thank God for garages! When Bill came to the house that night he found me in the garage on the top of a huge stack of boxes, crying. I was having a pity party and “talk with God” session; I was not sure this was a great decision. After letting out my thoughts and feelings, I told God I would make the best of it, with His help, but if Bill had made a wrong decision, He (God) would have to straighten it out.
After living there for a while I had a strong desire to let the landlords know we were going to look for a larger house. Bill didn’t want me to because he was concerned they would want us to move before we had found something else; so I waited. In the mean time Bill became very ill and was down in bed. If you know Bill, you know he is an avid reader. He felt too weak to hold up a book so he tore off the pages and read one page at a time and threw them away. The black mold kept coming out in the walls in the bedroom in spite of cleaning it off over and over. At that time Bill decided it might be a good idea to look for another house.
I called our landlords and they said they owned another larger house on the Westside and had just evicted the renters. They wanted us to look at it because they wanted to keep us as renters. This house had 2 bedrooms upstairs, 3 bedrooms downstairs, a large kitchen dining area and living room with a basement and was on a half acre. Definitely an upgrade from where we were! The rent on this house was just $75.00 a month more than the little house and they gave us $200.00 to buy things we wanted for the house. What a blessing!
We rented the house about 3 years before Bill had a desire to buy a home. We didn’t have much for a down payment, but did everything we could to make it work. He became satisfied that God was our provider whether we were renting or buying a house. The Lord put it on my heart to ask our landlords if they would sell us the house we were renting. They said no because they had a retirement plan all worked out for the future. About 2 months later the landlords called and asked to come over and talk to us about buying the house. They sat down with us at the kitchen table and showed us a plan. If we paid an additional $200.00 a month for 2 years on top of the rent it would be our down payment and we would then buy the house from them on a real estate contract. The landlord’s wife said she didn’t know why he was doing this and he said, “I just like them”.
This was a real step of faith for us to pay an extra $200.00 a month. We did do the plan and 2 years later were buying our first home. Approximately 2 years after that we refinanced the house at a much lower interest rate. Some time after that the Lord spoke a word to my heart that a corporation would want to buy our house and pay above and beyond market value. I received that word and told Bill about it, knowing if it was God, it would happen. Another period of time passed and I came home one day and there was a message on our answering machine from a corporation asking if we would sell our house. We did end up selling the house for almost twice the market value, which enabled us to buy the home we have now, our first new house. There was also a blessing in the selling and buying process because we didn’t have to put our house on the market, we didn’t have real estate fees, and the buyer paid the closing costs. That was God! When we bought our new home, it was a buyers market and we received several thousand in points. We only paid $16.00 in closing costs for our new house. Yes, that was God! Another special thing I felt was from The Lord, we moved into the house on our Wedding anniversary date.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” So many blessings over the years from renting that small house and walking through all the challenges we had with God guiding us. He did for us what we were not able to do for ourselves and built our faith all along the way.