This picture was taken last night. A GORGEOUS double rainbow over my church, Gateway Church in Southlake, TX. God was showing off...
Last night, my family decided to attend Gateway's Habitation service - a once-a-month Sunday night gathering where we spend extended time in worship, express our love and praise to God in freedom, and hear powerful, activating teaching from the Word. We have been to several of these services and have loved all of them. We always walk away recharged and with a fresh revelation of God's presence in our lives.
But last night was CRAZY! We had the usual, amazing time of worship and music; we could have been done after that first 30+ minutes because we were so satisfied with His presence! But, OHMYGOODNESS, we were just getting started. The elder who was teaching had a couple of short points about love/giving, and then he announced, "God is throwing a surprise party tonight!"
He went on to explain that God throws parties a little differently than we do: He seeks out the people with needs and blesses them. He lavishes His love on them with no thought of repayment on their part. He gives because He loves.
So, he told us, "Tonight, the Body (of Christ) is going to bless the Body." He asked us to pray and hear God whether tonight we were to receive, or we had something to give. All 2500 of us prayed. The room was electrified. He asked those in the room who had a need greater than $2000 to stand up, so I looked over at Tim...he looked at me with raised eyebrows, and we hooked arms and stood up. The lead pastor then explained what was about to happen. The other elders and some deacons were down at the front with baskets full of money, and another basket by their feet for people to give money. He told us who were standing to come get in lines and share our need with the elders and deacons, and they would trust the Holy Spirit to lead them in how best to meet that need: fully, over and above, partially, etc. Tim and I got in line with many, many others and waited. But, before we ever moved one step forward to tell our story, we were bombarded with people who put cash and checks in our hands. Some we knew very well, others were only acquaintances. It didn't matter. We were experiencing the Acts Church. As we stood in the line, we added up $995 that people had put in our hands!
None of those people had any idea what we needed...but they gave out of their hearts to bless us. What they didn't know is that we have needed a replacement car for Tim for a very, very long time. He has been driving the Little Honda That Could....but it just can't anymore. It's coming up on 300,000 miles, and among other issues, has been wrecked multiple times, overheats if you look at it wrong, guzzles about 4 quarts of oil a week...and most recently, will not pass inspection without significant, costly repairs. So, my daughter and I have been conspiring in prayer about it. I have been filling up the bowls in heaven with my request for God to provide a car for Tim...and Claire has been joining me in that prayer when I put her in bed at night. We have been thinking about how to get enough money together to buy a $1500-$2500 car that could just get us through. And when Steve Dulin started talking about loving/giving/blessing, I felt the Lord confirm in my gut that we would be walking out that night with the car issue covered.
We stood in line crying, completely overwhelmed at what was happening. Then our sweet friends--who were actually sitting next to us in the service--came and found us in line. The wife told us that they really wanted to give, but hadn't come with money or checkbook... They asked us what we needed, so we told them about the car situation and showed them the wad of cash that was a huge chunk of provision. Her husband said, "Well, we would like to add _____ thousand dollars to that." I truly did not hear what he said, and I was still totally overwhelmed, so I asked, "WHATTTT DID YOU SAY????" He chuckled and said, "Two thousand dollars."
I think the tears came shooting out of my eyes in horizontal streams. We were crying and snotting and laughing...still in the line. It was a crazy, surreal, precious, humbling, wonderful night. We hugged them and thanked them and blessed them....and then said, "I guess we can leave the line and go sit down now!"
We didn't even make it halfway to the front of the line to the elders, but God met us in line where we were. He hugged us, brushed our faces with His hands and answered our prayers. We are in awe!!!
Cool thing? This isn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last. God has come through for us time and time again! We have been in some difficult financial situations over the past 11 years of our marriage, and God has made a way through the fire every time. We have learned so much about surrendering "our" money to God - it's all His anyway - and letting Him lead us and show us how to use it.
The widow of Zarephath needed oil and meal to feed herself and her son, and God miraculously provided an unending supply in her jars. For some reason, we need help with cars. And God has provided for us every time. My parents loaned us one of their cars for 10 months, dear friends of ours donated a car to us once, other friends have come to help Tim repair a previous vehicle and bring it back to life. And we have seen Him provide in other crazy ways, too! One time I received a FedEx envelope that had $3000 cash in it from an anonymous donor. WHAT?! That money covered our missed mortgage payments and stopped foreclosure proceedings! Another time, a friend wanted to bless us with some furniture when we moved into our first home. Still another time, Tim was out of work, and my grandmother "just happened" to receive an extra large check from an oil holding that had not produced that much in ages. She gave it all to us - and it covered our bills!
God is faithful. GOD. IS. FAITHFUL. He demonstrated it to us inside the sanctuary at Gateway Church last night, and He sealed it with a rainbow for everyone to see.
*Side note: we also received some encouraging prophetic words that made faith rise in our hearts - a friend came and put her ring on my finger and told me that it was God's visual reminder to me of the authority He has given to us - that whatever mountain stands in our way, we command it to move, and it will move. Another dear friend came over to us and said God wanted her to give us her wallet - the one she had carried as a missionary in Mexico - to symbolize God's blessing on us. That whether the wallet was full or empty, we would not live under a spirit of lack. We will lack no good thing. She prayed heaven down on us.
God sees your needs. But He waits for you to ask. I don't totally know why He does it that way, but I think it has something to do with humbling yourself and pushing your pride away. He always lifts up the humble. When I have lain humbly before Him, He has always come to my aid. ALWAYS!
What do you need? Tell God about it. Ask Him to provide for you, and keep asking. Be on the watch for how He is coming to meet your needs!
Lord, I pray for all my friends reading this today. I ask you to come to their rescue and pour out your provision on their lives, their families and their finances. Meet them in their need and show your goodness. You are GOOD, God! Thank you for demonstrating your goodness and faithfulness to your children!!! Amen!!!
(Thanks to Ryan Boles for the pic...that I borrowed from Facebook...)