Sunday, March 3, 2013

TIME TO TESTIFY (My Lenten Lesson --- Part Two)

My weekly reflection on the third Sunday of Lent awakened me to the reassurance in God's promises. For He has promised to take care of me and I am Spiritually aware that my patience has become profitable.
Patience Produces Profits
     Pastor Greg Laurie once said, "If your faith cannot make it through adversity, then it isn't real faith. The faith that cannot be tested is the faith that cannot be trusted. Real faith gets stronger through hardships, not weaker. It becomes more resislent, it doesn't fall apart."
     In part one of my testimony, "Faith Produces Patience", I described my hardship concerning the gas leak at my house. As each day passed, my faith that God would take care of everything gave me sufficient God-fidence to have patience.
     Now that the new gasline has been installed, the struggle still is not quite over. I knew it would only be a matter of days before I will be receiving the bill. "Cha-ching!"
     Just as Paul and Barnabas encouraged others, "strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, 'We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.'" (Acts 14:22), I knew it was imperative that I not give in to fear and begin worrying where I would get the money.
     When the plumber quoted an estimate, "cha-ching!", I quickly sat down to review our resources. For the last three months, my nephew, who lives with me and shares the expenses, has not worked and therefore, I have been the main source of income.
     I spent way more than usual during Christmastime, which actually became bittersweet for me. You see, during Christmas, everybody on my list received Jesus from me. Whether it was a Bible, Bible study material, DVD, music, apparel, jewelry or just anything I thought would remind people of Christ.
     Of course, I was very hesitant to give Bibles to some because they were children and I thought they probably wouldn't enjoy them. But God put it on my heart to give these children the Bibles. (But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." --- Matthew 19:14) Although, they may not be excited at first, there will be a time when they will need God and He will lead them to open the Bible and what Scripture they should read. That was the sweet part of it.
     The bitter part, I was disheartened to discover the children's Bibles have been put away in a box somewhere. So the children don't have easy access to them if they ever feel the Holy Spirit telling them to reach out to God through those Bibles. So, I actually felt as though I wasted my money. And as many as I bought, it was a lot of money. I was thinking about how I surely could use that money and that instead of buying something that seems will never be used, I should have instead saved the money. At least, I would have it now that I'm in need of it.
     Thinking about this situation and that I probably shouldn't have spent that money was beginning to make me grumble and complain. I knew that wasn't the right thing to do. I love pleasing God and He certainly doesn't like to hear when we grumble and complain. After all, He gives us so many blessings we really have no real reason not to praise Him instead.
     Remembering that God had provided a way for my gas to be turned back on only reassured me that God was with me. I know I have to press on and continue walking in faith so I may witness God's glory.
     We filed my nephew's taxes and were expecting a small refund and I still needed to file my taxes once all my paperwork was in so I praised God that we would be able to pay some of the plumbing bill with the tax refund. So yes, God did provide.
     But the story doesn't end there. You see, through one of my credit cards, I'm enrolled in a program where if something should happen and I can't pay my bill, they will pay it for me. Well, in December I did receive a notice telling me that I haven't taken advantage of the program and I still had the opportunity to do so. Well, in December I didn't need to use it and I forgot all about it.
     The day after I had my gas turned back on, I received my monthly credit card statement in the mail. I so dreaded opening the envelope to see how much I owed. But as I took a deep breath, I slowly exhaled as I cautiously pulled out the statement. I looked it over three or four times trying to make sense of it. It read that my balance is zero and my line of credit is the full amount. Surely this can't be right, so I called the company. Sure enough, I owe nothing on that credit card because the program put the money toward my bill. Apparently, after so long, if you don't use the funds they automatically apply it toward your account anyway.
     But the story still doesn't end there. Because I had such a substantial amount from the program, not only did it pay my account leaving a balance of zero but I was also left with a substantial amount credited to my account. So now I have enough to pay the plumbing bill and excess to still enjoy.
     So I want to encourage you... the way we learn patience is through our trials and tribulations. The Bible encourages us to "count is all joy" when we encounter hardships. We should be conscious to the reality that trials produce one of life's greatest qualities --- patience. Also, when God tells us to give... whether or not we understand the reason or even if we don't agree with it, just do it! God always rewards an obedient servant.
"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."    --- Luke 6:38
~One Love~