Where does time fly to?!? It certainly has flown away from me this winter. Without motivation and too many kid activities, the makeovers have taken a vacation. I promise that the change in the weather is starting to bring back the much needed motivation to get back at it.
The little free time I have found has been filled with reading some great books. I'm addicted to anything regarding Bible prophecy and have finished quite a few new reads dealing with it, as well as revisiting a few favorites. I find comfort in reading about the end times ~ I know that sounds strange to some, but it gives me a peace to know that everything happening in today's world is in God's hands and plans. The recent earthquakes in New Zealand and now in Japan should be a wake-up call ~ Jesus' return could be very close at hand.
Not only have I been absorbing prophecy, I've also finished re-reading Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle. It's just a little book (93 pages), but it delivers a big message. During this last year, God has been working on my heart regarding increasing our giving. DH and I have both felt God's tug.
My MIL and Step-FIL gave this book to DH for Christmas in 2009. Although we both read it at that time, and did do a little extra giving, the Principle didn't really take hold. I could blame it on lots of things ~ too little time, too little resources, too many other "needs", etc., etc. The fact is we didn't make it take hold.
As I was cleaning off my bookshelf a few weeks ago, I came across the book again. So, I decided to re-read it. Boy, did it hit home this time. I've been feeling unsettled for quite a few months now and couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me. I kept thinking it was the winter blues, but it seemed deeper than that. My heart has just been heavy. I think the answer was "hiding" in the book all along.
The Treasure Principle is about discovering the secret of joyful giving. It is an eye-opener about how God wants us to see money and possessions ~ and where we should really be storing up our treasures. In today's world, it's so easy to get caught up in more, more, more for me, me, me. When actual, everything belongs to Him. Nothing we have on this earth is truly ours ~ NOTHING. Everything, including the money in our wallet, is His. We shouldn't be in a race to see how much we can hoard for ourselves in our homes or bank accounts instead we should be living by this verse in Matthew ~
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
I'm a saver ~ kids' toys, kids' clothes, sentimental anything, money, etc.. I have a hard time letting things that are tied to memories go. My dad drilled it into me to not get rid of things because you never know when you might need them. Our basement was proof of my problem of not passing things on. I had totes full of clothes and toys and misc. items that I just might need some day. They were weighing me down. They were weigh heavy on my heart ~ but I didn't know it. Then this little book popped back into my life. Suddenly it hit me. These things aren't mine, they all belong to God and it's my job to use them in the best way possible for Him! I really don't have the right to be storing them in our basement for years and years. I should be using them and then passing them on to someone else who needs them.
So for the last few weeks, I have been passing God's blessings to me on. So far I have cleaned out 8 totes of blessings and it feels wonderful. My heart is filled with a peace I haven't felt in a long time. I realized that I really had no ownership of these materials ~ it's like they were on loan from God and it's now time to give them back or pass them on. Before, when I would go through the totes and try to downsize, my heart would ache and I would become emotional thinking about the memory associated with each item. Now I almost feel excitement when I think about the person who will receive the blessing. It truly is bringing more joy to me than the items ever did or will!
There are 6 keys to The Treasure Principle ~
1. God owns everything. I'm His money manager.
2. My heart always goes where I put God's money.
3. Heaven, not earth, is my home.
4. I should live not for the dot but the line.
5. Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
6. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.
Alcorn spends time explaining each key in a very real, easy to understand way. It's a "quick" read with a big punch. I would encourage everyone to read it.
Not only are we passing along these material blessings to other families, we are passing along the Principle to our children as well. They have gotten into the Principle right along with us. It's been amazing to see how excited they are to pass along toys, clothes, books, etc. that they have to others that are in need.
A quote from the book ~ "The more you give, the more comes back to you, because God is the greatest giver in the universe, and He won't let you outgive Him. Go ahead and try. See what happens." That's not saying that the money will come flowing in by the tidal wave, but that God will bless you beyond your wildest dreams. This is the one time God says to test him ~
"Test me in this...and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it" Malachi 3:10
My challenge for you this week is to give more and see what happens. Trust what God has promised to those that do.