Man. How many Pinterest pins, articles, videos and websites start with that line? What if you actually could make more money, but more importantly fulfill a promise all at the same time?
For years like many couples, my husband and I fought about money. We had one thing in common. How to overspend it! Money was just a hot topic for us. One particular money topic was the hottest. Tithing. I wanted to tithe, and my husband couldn’t see how we could possibly afford to give more when we were drowning in debt. On top of that, we own two small businesses and we did not know how to tithe without a fixed income. Turns out there wasn’t a ton of info on how to tithe as a small business owner. I found that most experts say to tithe off of your take-home pay. I decided I wanted to tithe straight off the top. We work with clients. So, when we work with our clients on our work days, they pay us. I found that if every morning after my Bible study time, I meet with our bank account. The first thing I do is add up how much we made, multiply it by.10 (10%) and put that money into a safe account where Saturday morning I make my offering to our church electronically. By doing it daily, it reminds me that this is not “My” or even “Our” money. It is 100% Gods.
No. God does not NEED our money, but He did command us to give him the first 10%. So, if I don’t Tithe, it absolutely means I am sinning against God and being disobedient. That is a chance I was no longer willing to take. Not even for my husband. (Who thankfully The Lord has brought on board)
Malachi 3:10-11New International Version (NIV)
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty.
How cool is that? Seriously? The God of ALL The Universe is challenging you to test Him! For a blessing!!! A BLESSING! He LOVES us. Like any GOOD parent, He wants to bless His children.
Many people have a problem giving to their church. The truth is you are giving to God THROUGH your church. If you can’t trust that your church will be good stewards of Gods money, well, truthfully…find another church! Honestly. Think about it. If you think the leadership is untrustworthy, then why would you even go there? Besides, God asks for your first fruits. He will deal with anyone who misuses your hard earned wages.
So, we started to tithe. I mean REALLY do it right. Guess what. EVERY month, there is more than enough. Most of the married lives there was either not enough or just enough. (Grant you we had a massive overspending problem, but that was another sin area of my life The Lord showed me.) Honest to goodness. More than enough. And from sources that are completely unexpected. New clients. Old clients pop up after years. Small little refund checks, and new business opportunities. Now don’t get me wrong. We have only been at this thing for a couple of years. We still have months that I worry (yes I STILL do that now and again) that we won’t have enough. But, as you already know, God is not capable of lying, so, we do! I think God is still teaching me to trust in His capabilities not my own. He loves to wow me!!
The difference between Tithing and Giving
“I for years said we GIVE a lot, that’s how we tithe.” This is how I justified my disobedience in tithing. God loves a cheerful giver! We will have rewards in heaven forgiving. Tithing is a COMMAND. If every Christian rich, poor and everything in between tithed, I know that there would be less starving babies in the world. Less sex trafficking. Less homeless. Fewer churches closing down. Less despair. More resources. More light. More love of God shining in the dark spots.
I challenge you to test God in your finances. It’s the one area He gives us permission! Pray first. Admit it if you have been disobedient. Ask for God to forgive your misuse of His money and turn and DO the right thing.
By the way, if you know anything about business, tithing off the very top BEFORE expenses takes faith. This is how I felt lead to Tithe. I’m not saying it is for everyone. Most Christian finance experts agree with tithing off your pay. It doesn’t make it better or worse. I wanted to dedicate my businesses to God that is why I chose this direction. Either way. Do what you CAN do and God will do the rest.
Some of it is self- induced and some of it is out of control. So- what’s a girl supposed to do? Is it possible to cancel the noise so that we can hear our own thoughts again? I believe it is. We have to be purposeful on this endeavor. We have to make a conscious decision to turn away from the negative noise and fill our souls with GOOD noise.
A Joyful Noise. Listening to rants and raves of news media and EVERYONE’S opinions will change our moods. It changes how we engage face to face with our loved one’ s. Just like every other bad habit, we do what we know and we become what we do. If I start or end my day with the tragedies of this world I can almost guarantee, I will feel down. That is not fair to the people (actual people) in my life.
I can’t offer them the best version of me. If I fill my life with inspiring people that overcame challenges, engaging books that require me to THINK, and music that quenches my soul to the core…How can I not be a better version of myself? THOSE are the days I can pour out love on the people on my path. so here are some simple switches I made to make a GOOD difference in my life.
By all means. Not all podcasts are good or uplifting. In fact, many are downright depressing and, well, not good! Look through the categories and find an area of your life that you want to improve upon. Try a couple until you find one that fits. I do recommend that you diversify in all things. Listen to different sources.
Listen to uplifting books while you commute or while you clean.
Yes, there is an app for that. I have a folder of my favorite pastor’s apps.
I love Ted Talks. There is generally no ranting or raving and you hear how incredible people really are. Ted Talks bring out the best for people. Not perfect people, but people have overcome challenges
Stand -up comedy
There are A ton of clean comedians on YouTube. Laugh and laugh hard!!
Of course!! My entire life is like a soundtrack. I was always listening to music. Honestly, when I was younger and going through some stuff, I realized later on, the music I was listening to was dark and depressing. So as you have already guessed it, so was my mood. Keep it light. Change it up. Dig deep into YOUR soundtrack. Play some stuff from the happy times in your life or try a new type of music altogether.
The Sound of Silence
Sometimes we just need to learn to be quiet with our own thoughts. Most of us have a hard time with this one. Practice makes perfect. Try starting with 5 minutes a day and increase a minute a day until you reach 20 minutes. Feel free to let negative thoughts come and go quickly.
LISTENING to things encourages us to LISTEN and not just speak. Truthfully people want to draw close to people that hear what they are saying and not just hearing their opinions. They can get that anywhere. I can get so much accomplished while listening to uplifting and engaging things. Not only is my mood better, but also my heart. My house is cleaner for it and drives are calm and peaceful.
Our Good Father
Do you remember when you were taught to ride a bike?
Or maybe you are a parent, and you have shown your child how to ride.I got one for Christmas one year, and I couldn’t wait to get out there! I had visions of jumping on my shiny new rainbow seat bike and taking off. I pictured myself soaring down the road with the older kids in the neighborhood. My reality was a little different. Growing up in Pittsburgh posed some weather conditions which meant months before my first lesson began. Learning at first involves training wheels. Not precisely super cool to the big kids. When the day finally arrived, and the weather was less sub below zero and more like a balmy 45 degrees. It was on!
My dad was behind me holding onto my rainbow seat bike.
Honestly, I think he was holding on so tightly my little legs were peddling, but that bike was not going anywhere. He was trying to give me instructions, but all I could hear was the wind whipping through my golden-brown hair. Now that the directions were over, it was time. Training wheels intact I start pushing. I tripped a few times. Still, to this day, I start with my right foot up and left on the ground. I even got it.
Then I finally got the rhythm down and there I go! I felt good. I felt confident! (Of course, dad still hanging on and running slightly out of breath behind me)….
Now I have to explain here. If you have never been to Pittsburgh, we had some cold, we had some snow, and we have some of the greatest hills, and windy roads on the planet. (Self-driving cars are tested there because the companies figure if a car can handle the trails there, they can drive anywhere.) Now the street I grew up on was called 9th Ave. It has a hill. To a small child, it is like a mountain to a grown adult it is more like a bump.
Straight and narrow that was the sweet spot!
Not exactly the most adventurous, but it was relatively smooth other than the slight wobbling from the training wheels. Then came the turns. Not quite so soft. I remember a lot of tipping, but dad still in check to keep it from happening. Then it happened, one day my dad let go. I was doing it on my own! I felt free and relaxed. On the straight and narrow.
I remember stopping was a minor issue and there it was. I was running out of street!!!! I had to make the turn or run into Mr. Benson’s house. I turned. I tipped. I hit the cement. Ok. I wasn’t going that fast. I was little. But I did hit the cement. Dad (with the fear and mild panic on his face) Untangled me from my bike and carried me in one arm and the bike in the other back to the house. (Where I believe I was greeted with a band-aid and ice cream by my mom.)
I see my relationship with God a lot like learning to ride a bike.
You look over the years of being a Christian, I have had some false ideas of how that looked. Just like thinking I would instantly speed off into glory with the big kids, it took many, many…many times of practicing. I tripped, stumbled and fell a lot. I even had that one accident that messed me up pretty well as I slid down that bump on 9th Ave. On my face. There was recovery time, and the kids on the block horrified to look at my face. (came in handy at a sleepover when I held a flashlight up to my face to scare the other girls.) Oh, how I still chuckle over that one!
I have been reading God’s words most mornings for about 11 years
I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. I have done A LOT of Bible Studies and church services. I am a prayer warrior. Truth is I still swear on occasion. Yep. In certain situations (especially pain or anger) there it is. It comes out almost out of nowhere.
People I know that grew up in Evangelical homes can’t believe it. I don’t know what to tell them. Even with Jesus in my heart and The Holy Spirit pumping through my veins. Yep, I can still swear. I sin. I am a sinner. I get annoyed, and I get angry. I fall short EVERY day. You see I am not condoning sin. By no means! I go out of my way to avoid it. If at the very second your surrender your life to Jesus, and we all became perfect people, then why would the cross have had to happen?
God knows my heart,
God knows my heart, and he knows my sins, even when I don’t recognize them immediately myself. But He is still hanging onto me, and sometimes he lets go. Sometimes I fall, I get banged up, I backslide a little, and He is always there to pick me up and heal my wounds. Of course, I want Him to take away my pain BEFORE it happens, but I learn from my mistakes.
I guess that is why he gives us as much time as He allows us on this Earth. He is making us like His Son. He is developing us to act like, SPEAK like and love like Jesus. He loves imperfection. He loves to use imperfect people to do His work. While He is working the kinks out of me, all He is looking for is a willing heart. He wants to use me. He wants to use YOU.
God doesn’t want us judging other people and where they are on their journey.
He wants to use us to pick them up and walk with them. He uses us to help heal their wounds. He wants us to look for what we have in common not only our differences. God also blessed me with a good example of a dad. I realize this. Many people either had no example of this or a horrible experience with their dad. I am SO sorry if that is your truth. Please know that God is a GOOD Father and He will not let you down. Even when you think He has, He is working for your good. He loves you.
And we know that in all things God works for the GOOD of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Next time you are sitting at a red light turning left, take a minute to notice the faces turning right around the bend next to you. On a busy morning, you see moms with kids in the back seat heading off to school, professional men and women with earbuds in talking on the phone, and people shoving their breakfast into their faces because they didn’t have time at home. Where I live (Just outside DC) you see every race and ethnicity. Thank God! I love the diversity of where I live. It is so perfect as to how God describes The Kingdom of Heaven in the bible.
Today it is a rare occasion that I am driving my son TO school. My husband usually takes the early shift and I take the late. As I was sitting to turn onto my road, it struck me. All of these people. ALL of them are loved by God just as much as He loves me. He created us so different, but yet so the same. We may LOOK different, but don’t we all simply desired to be loved. We are so quick to make snap judgments about people. The truth is, everyone was created by God and He has a plan for their lives. We never fully understand a person until we get to know them. We all come from stuff. Stuff that was out of our control and stuff we caused by going our own way.
Jesus is Love
When Jesus said LOVE your neighbor, He did not mean just your neighbors in your neighborhood or the ones we actually like, and a relationship just comes easily too. He is saying everyone is our neighbor. Most days there are people on your path. Your neighbors. The cashier working two jobs as a single mother to support her kids. Your mail carrier, your garbage man and your co-workers. Yes. Even the ones that make you nuts.
Neighbors. I believe God keeps certain people in our life that pluck our nerves to show us how to love and bring light to our deficiencies. Instead of being prickly toward those people, go out of your way to learn about them. You will find interesting things about why their personality is the way it is. God will teach you to love them and soften your heart. After all, wouldn’t we want others to do the same for us?
2 days ago
*** I wrote this 2 days ago. My hometown of Pittsburgh was hit with a mass shooting at The Tree of Life Synagogue yesterday. What a horrific event. My heart breaks for the victims and their families. I am shaken by it. The evil that entered the Shabbat service… Our neighbors were simply trying to worship with their community. Not hurting anyone.
When did it happen?
When did we stop listening to one another and accepting one another’s differences? (Embracing one another’s differences?) We used to agree to disagree. Sure, you had those few and far between that did not, but it seems like it is so common to become easily offended when others do not agree with us. This should not be. It’s ok to think differently than our neighbors. In fact. What a beautiful thing! It’s how we were created. But guess what? We are still commanded to LOVE our neighbor as ourselves.
We must overcome hate with LOVE. Love is stronger than hate. I see the love pouring out on my hometown and IN my hometown.
Love thy neighbor. ALL of them! We are not Judge and Jury. GOD is!!! He simply commands us to love.
Love thy Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Gay, Straight, Republican, Democratic, Independent, and ____________________ (You fill in the blank) neighbor. It’s time to overshadow evil with GOOD.
Please remember and pray for all of our neighbors affected by the tragedy in Pittsburgh yesterday.
Please consider contributing to their Go Fund Me page.
You may not have heard of dry brushing. Dry brushing is not for your hair. It is for your SKIN.
There are many benefits of dry brushing.
Skin is our largest organ. Dry skin will keep your body from detoxing properly. By removing dry skin, your pores are open to breathe. Your body sweats toxins out of your body while making your lymphatic system healthier. Dry brushing will decrease body odor as your body begins to detoxify itself better on a daily basis.
Help reduce cellulite-
I know. I know. We have been told everything works to make that magic happen and been lied to over and over again. Dry brushing is not a magic pill. You have to consistently do it to see results but it really does work. Cellulite is fat cells storing toxins. (I know- gross)
Decongests pores and gives and healthy glow-
As you start your new daily habit of dry brushing, your skin will take on a beautiful youthful glow. Your lymph system is working better, you are improving blood flow which nourishes your skin and you will begin to hear the magic words “You look younger”.
Helps alleviate ingrown hairs on legs
As we age, we begin to battle with ingrown hairs on our legs from shaving. Dry brushing wipes them out before they begin by removing the dead skin and opening up our pores.
How to Dry Brush-
Once daily (Twice if you can, but I’m a realist) Stand in the shower (No water)
Buy a Dry Brush. Only use a NATURAL bristle brush.
Start at the top of your feet. Take long multiple strokes working always toward your heart. (Please do be gentle) Your skin will be sensitive at first
The order I like to Dry Brush
legs (front and back)
fingertips up front and back of arms
breasts (avoid the nipples ladies!)
back (Need a long handle brush
***About the Neck and Face- If you choose to include these areas, you want a FACE brush
I am including my favorite Youtube Dry Brushing Tutorial (She keeps it simple)