Did God pass the "test"?

Malachi 3:10 (NKJV)   

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,     That there may be food in My house,     And try Me now in this,”     Says the Lord of hosts,     “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven     And pour out for you such blessing     That there will not be room enough to receive it. 

Back on September 1, 2013 I told you about my wife and I double “tithing” (or giving back God 20% of what He has given us during the month) in order to show our two sons that God comes through on His promises.  God promises in Malachi in the last book of the Old Testament of the Bible that He will throw open the windows of heaven and pour out so much blessing that we will not have room enough for it, if we give Him back His 10% of what He gives us.  Since we were already giving God back His 10% we decided to give Him back 20% in the month of September to give God the chance to show our sons proof that God can be trusted.

God has blessed us by giving our sons neighbors to play with after school.  Jesus has helped me to see more quickly when I’m wrong and apologize to my wife.  God has enabled us to go to church together, which is very sweet because it hasn’t happened often lately.  My younger son has been walking away from the antagonism of others, which takes great strength and I am proud of him.  God provided a mini-mentoring session for my older son through a Christian friend of a Christian friend who was cleaning my carpets (he did an excellent job with my son and the carpets – ask for referral information).  My son tithed five weeks at church tonight (partially ahead of schedule) and was totally pumped, ready to see what God would do to bless him.

Monetarily, God did some off-the-chart things for us, as well.  First, He provided a perfect stranger to pick up our dinner check at a restaurant.  Next, my wife got paid for work that she wasn’t planning on getting paid for.  Our family received a free hotel stay, including mileage, breakfast, pool, and exercise room.  I interviewed for a new job and quit my then current job on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 and got paid for the next two weeks.  Last Monday, September 23, 2013, God gave me the job I interviewed for making twice as much as I did before plus unbelievable benefits.  This fits perfectly with my wife going from 40 hours per week to 20 hours per week (which is welcome).  And as far as God’s timing, my job starts the same day my wife’s job goes to part-time.

To me, God has indeed opened for me the windows of heaven  And poured out for me such blessing  That there is not room enough to receive it.

Ephesians 3:20 – 21 (NKJV) 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,  21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

There is room for you at the "top".

Someone has said that Jesus’ kingdom is an upside-down kingdom.  Our Lord and Master, our God, is also the servant of all.  Our greatness is not measured in how many people are working for us, but in the works of love we do for others.

This attitude does not come naturally.  It comes super-naturally.  Jesus said we must be “converted”.  Jesus said that He reveals His truth to “babes”.  Jesus said that if we hear His message and receive it [do it] we receive Him and God the Father who sent Him.

(My son has given me permission to share the following).  I am continually impressed with my 18 year old son and how he grasps who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are and their ways.  When faced with a problem, many times he is the first to say, “Dad, let’s pray.  Let’s ask Jesus for help”.  My son is brilliant socially and is one of the leaders in his classroom.  He also reads and writes at a second grade level.

Though some in this world would overlook him, I admire him.  He’s like the child that Jesus held in His arms and gave as an example for His disciples to be like.

I’ve explained to my son that he is smart, frequently pointing out to him when he demonstrates that quality.  But I have also told him that he is wise, also pointing out that quality when he demonstrates it.  And, I’ve explained the difference.  My son loves God the Father and Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit.  My son reverences God and values God.  My son is teachable about God and His ways.  And so my son is wiser than some with multiple times his IQ.

Some value intellect.  Some value athleticism.  Some value popularity.  God values love.  Love for Him and love for others.  And true love for God always expresses itself as obedience to God.  Not that we are perfect.  But when we do sin we repent (turn around), ask God and anyone involved for forgiveness, learn from our mistake, and press on.

So my goal is to humble myself and be like my son, like the little child Jesus gave as an example to be like.  And the nice thing about Jesus’ upside-down kingdom is that there is always room at the top, or rather bottom.  All of us can serve others and be like Jesus.

16 He who hears you  [Jesus’ disciples] hears Me [Jesus], he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” (Luke 10:16, NKJV)

21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.” (Luke 10:21, NKJV)

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,  3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” (Matthew 18:1-5, NKJV)

Giving and Receiving

Just a few minutes ago I had the most unusual, and baffling and joy-filled experience.  My wife and my younger son and I were dining at an Italian place we like.  A gentleman we had never met before was waiting for his take-out order and asked us about my son’s hoodie with the Indiana Colt’s logo on it.  We told him that my wife’s family lives in Indiana and that we had followed Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy.  I was trying to get up the nerve to share Jesus with this gentleman using Tony Dungy as a starting point.  I chickened out and didn’t say anything and the man reached over and picked up our check.  It was for over $35 and to me that is a lot of money.  So I took the check back from him.  He took it back from me and said, “I’ve been blessed, now you go bless others”.

I was stunned.  This has never happened to me before.  I asked the man if he was a Christian.  I don’t remember exactly how he answered.  My wife said later that he probably was a Christian because not that many people say, “I’ve been blessed”.

Wow, God is awesome!  This man is awesome!  I’ve never felt like this before.  He mentioned that I could leave a nice tip.  We left $10.

This man doesn’t know that today was the last day of my job.  Or, that my wife is going from 40 hours to 20 hours per week.  But God knows.  And this man obeyed God.  Because this man obeyed God, God was blessed, the man was blessed and I and my family were blessed.

I gave this kind man my blog information and I hope he reads this.  Thank you very much, sir, we appreciate your generosity, especially at this time.

I am being considered for another job with another company right now.  I would be grateful if anyone who reads this would choose to pray for me to get the job that God wants me to get.  (Also, I would be glad to pray for you about what concerns you if you would like to leave a comment).

What a day!  Thank you Jesus!  Thank you kind man!  And thank you for reading this.  Have a blessed day.