Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Crisis Provides Opportunity

I have a few random things that have been on my heart that I keep putting off in my daily posts. I know that many of you probably had a New Year's Resolution or a goal to go to church more often in 2010, or even start going all together. If you have ever been in church, you know what tithing is. God provides everything that we have, right? We are to do nice things for others. We exchange gifts with our friends & family to show thanks for them. Why aren't we showing thanks to God in the form of a proper tithe? Why aren't we doing a nice thing for Him? He gives us more than anyone else. I came across this cartoon a month or so ago & it speaks volumes to me. Just think about it for a minute.

Why is that? Why are we giving our waitresses 15-20% & God is only getting 10% or He isn't getting anything at all? Is her service really healing us? Is it blessing us? Will she give us eternal life? Will she let me see Kayleigh again? Don't get me wrong ladies, I was a waitress once. I am not asking you to stop tipping. But, I think you can get my message.

If I asked most of you how 2009 was for you, I bet you would say that you hope 2010 is better. Why would you say that? Well, because you are hoping for more money, less stress, a job, etc. Bascially, less crisis, right? That is what most of us think.  Adam posted this on his Facebook page on New Year's Eve:

Some may say...the death of our child, nearly a year spent in the hospital, our successful business floundering, our beautiful home foreclosing, our car being reposessed, our marriage separation would certainly be considered a bad year, but I see it as how God used us to show others how awesome His love is and that with the Lord in your life, you'll be filled with the strength to get through ANYTHING!!! I call that a GREAT YEAR!!! God Bless you all and Happy New Year :)

When I went to church on Saturday night, the sermon that Pastor Furtick gave was very similar to Adam's words. There was one comment in that sermon that stuck with me. I believe I will make it my mantra. I earned it. LOL "Crisis Provides Opportunity." For our family, 2009 was just one crisis after another. But each off those situations provided opportunity for us to be closer to the Lord, but for us to share with all of you. I met one of my dearest friends, my mentor, I moved to a new city that is allowing me to get involved in fundraising, I am active in church, getting involved in small groups, mentoring women that I would never have met, etc. etc. Many many lives were & will be changed because of my family's crisis of 2009. Shouldn't that make it the best year, not the worst? Are you using your crisis as an opportunity to share the Lord, or to bring you or your family closer to the Lord?

God's blueprint for marriage involves one flesh. Marriage is a total commitment & a total sharing of the total person with another person until death. God's intention is that when two people get married, they share everything - their bodies, their possessions, their insights, their ideas, their abilities, their problems, their successes, their sufferings, their failures, etc. A husband & wife are a team & whatever each of them does must be for the sake of the other person, or at least it must not be to the detriment of the other person. Each must be as concerned about the other person's needs as he is about his own. (Eph. 5:28; Prov. 31:12, 27)

God's blueprint for a good marriage is total intimacy & deep unity. Now, this does not mean total uniformity or sameness. Our bodies are made up of many different parts. Hands do not do the work of feet. Our heart does not do the work of our livers. There is great diversity in our body, yet there is unity. Each part works for the benefit of the other parts, or at least one part does not try to hurt the other parts. Similarly, husbands & wives may be very different, but they must not allow their differences to hinder their unity because God's purpose is total unity.

In Genesis 2:25, immediately after God spoke of the husband & wife becoming one flesh, the Scripture says, "And the man & his wife we both naked & were not ashamed." After they sinned we read that "they eyes of both of them were opened, & they knew that they were naked, & they sewed fig leaves together & made themselves loin coverings." As soon as sin entered the picture, they began to cover up. This attempt to cover up was certainly an evidence of their awareness of their sinfulness before God. Immediately & foolishly, they tried to hide their sin from God. Still further, this "covering up" symbolized an attempt to hide from each other.  When sin entered the picture, their transparency, openness, & total oneness were destroyed.

In today's times sometimes marital oneness is destroyed by the sin of selfishness. Sometimes it is marred by the sin of pride. Sometimes it is broken by the sin of bitterness or ingratitude or stubbornness or unwholesome speech or neglect or impatience or harshness or cruelty. It was sin that destroyed the oneness of Adam & Eve, & it is sin that destroys the oneness of husbands & wives today.

This brings us to our need of Jesus Christ. First of all, we need Jesus to bring us into the right relationship with God. But not only that, we need Jesus to help us be rightly related to each other. Jesus Christ came into the world to destroy barriers between man & woman & man & God. He alone can take a sinful, selfish man & woman & enable them to leave father & mother, cleave to one another, & become one flesh. Therefore, if you are going to experience that total oneness that God says is essential to a good marriage, you need to come to Jesus Christ. He cleanses our sin & gives us the Holy Spirit, who produces in us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self control. What area are you lacking in? What sin is destroying your total oneness with your husband? How can you rely on the Lord more to help change you for the better?

Day Twenty Three - 

You're moving toward the home stretch of your 30 day challenge! Just a reminder of what you've committed:

You can't say anything negative about your husband...to your husband...or to anyone else, about your husband. Each day, say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband...to your husband...& to someone else...about your husband.

"In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works..." (Titus 2:7a)

Does this challenge seem like hard work? Or is it becoming a pleasant exercise in genuine Christ-likeness in your home? You are only scratching the surface of ways to encourage your mate.

Is your husband organized? Is he diligent? Is he persistent? These are all related to a pattern of personal disciplines that are worthy of your praise. Affirm him for one or more of these traits that you see in him. 

Some men have not developed these qualities because they are naturally more spontaneous. You can praise him for his spontaneity! Perhaps God has called you alongside to help him with disciplines he has not yet developed - but this does not include nagging. You can keep him organized. 

Whatever the need, you can be your husband's cheerleader, encouraging him when he wants to give up.

Day Twenty Three Prayer - 

Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities are necessary for a successful career & ministry will be a growing part of his character - persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Rom. 12:11, 1 Cor. 15:58)

Aimee Freeman


Anonymous said...

Tithing is giving 10% of your WAGES to the church.
When you tip a waitress 15%, this is 15% of the BILL. Unless you're spending way outwith your means, this bill will not be your entire income for the month.

The cartoon is very wrong. It annoys me that it's so misleading.

Apart from that, I agree we should always give more to God. But for some of us we don't even have enough money to get by in our daily lives. Isn't giving our hearts and our time enough?

Aimee Freeman said...

But it is the Lord that blessed you with your wages, right? Why do you feel that you should pay other things before you pay Him for what he has given you? You would have nothing without Him. Why do you feel that you can decide what parts of the Bible you will choose to follow? Knowing what you are supposed to do & not doing it is only compounding your disobedience. Christianity is not about convenience, it is about obedience.

Deni said...

What a lovely post. I have just started following this blog. I kinda gave myself a break from blogging recently because internet was taking over. I followed the story of Kayleigh religiously (you may remember me connecting with your hubby when she was first born - our son Parker was in the NICU as well).

For a long time I struggled with tithing. I didn't really want to give what little money I had to God...I thought I needed it. Now though, I can honestly say that I feel that we have more money issues when we don't tithe...if that makes any sense. It's like when we are tithing regularly (which for us is bi-weekly but give enough for the 2 weeks) I really do feel like things are better.

I haven't lost a child, but I can honestly say that God really does get you through anything. I have seen it myself and it's amazing to know that my faith has grown in the past 19 months!

thorney said...

I really needed to see this post. I don't tithe for a lot of reasons, one being that I didn't like the church we were attending and how they spent their funds.

We since moved to a place we are happy happy and we have visited a few churches finding one we liked on Christmas Eve. It's been 8 years since I've been in a church I felt safe and free to be me. A place I could feel God.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say I thought we should give God nothing. No, God doesn't pay wages, your work does. Does he help you find a job by creating oppertunities? Yes!

Does God get my money directly? No. Does he benefit from it through people praising him at church? Absolutely!

But I don't think that you should be making people feel bad because all they can give is 10%. And the cartoon was still misleading because as I said, you don't give 15% of your wages to the waitress.

There are many people I know that go to church, give the church their money, and are bad Christians. I've seen it first hand. We need to worship God in more ways than giving the church more money. God wants to see us do good with our money and to help people. But he also wants us to do this in our every day lives.

I don't know about your financial circumstances and I don't want to know. But for me I have VERY little money, live with my parents, and struggle to buy tampons most months! This is because I am trying to get an education. I do not spend more than I have, I just don't have a lot, if any most of the time. I worship God as much as I can. I just think that post made me feel bad and that my praise is not worthwhile. That was not the reason I ever came to this website. It was to learn about having a Godly relationship with my partner, through God. Not to be told I should give the church more money.

My paretns always told me you should never speak about peoples financial or political situations. So I won't bother you with any more discussion on this. I can see why they told me that...

Aimee Freeman said...

Anonymous, I am sorry that you disagree & I suppose that is your right. However, my blog is not here to make you feel good. God blessed you with the job, therefore salary that you have. It sounds like you are making excuses for not contributing. If you can't, you can't. I am not forcing people to do anything. I am only opening people's eyes to the truth. I have not always given what I "should" because I claimed to not be able to afford it. That was untrue. I could afford more than I was doing. I needed someone to call me out on that so to speak.

That is what this blog is. A challenge, a challenge to be better. When you go to church they preach about tithing. Are you arguing with them? This is my blog & my opinions based on my faith. You can choose to disagree. That is your free will.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't arguing with the concept of tithing at all. As I said, I thought that your post was trying to make people feel guilty for tithing (i.e. only giving 10%), when they should be giving more. My income is zero. But I always find something to give to the collection at church because I want to contribute. So it's not really about me. I just know that a lot of people are struggling right now, many people out of work or in debt, and may like to feel like that 10% is appreciated, selfish as that may be.

God hasn't blessed me with a job, but maybe he will in the near future. I hope so! Sorry you had a bad day yesterday, I hope I didn't make it worse. But if you read back you'll realise that I never disagreed with tithing at all.


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