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← Should You Give While Getting Out of Debt? - Ask Pastor Tim

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Showing Revision 4 created 11/25/2017 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Here's the first question.
  2. "I have a question about giving.
  3. I will use myself as an example,
  4. but the question can
    be taken more generally.
  5. What is a good attitude to have
  6. when it comes to giving?
  7. When it comes to church, charity,
  8. supporting ministry efforts,
  9. or missions, etc.,
  10. but you also have debt?
  11. We are about $400 behind on the rent.
  12. And it will take months of small,
  13. affordable payments here and there
  14. to pay it off while staying afloat.
  15. I recently became a Christian..."
  16. You see these different factors here.
  17. You see the kind of debt -
  18. that's something that we might want
  19. to give consideration to.
  20. The kind of debt.
  21. He's a brand new Christian.
  22. A brand new Christian is probably
  23. going to look different
  24. than someone who is
  25. more of a seasoned Christian,
  26. or walked with the Lord longer anyway.
  27. Because you recognize as I recognize,
  28. when I first got saved,
  29. I had a mess of debt.
  30. The financial situation of
    lots of lost people
  31. is just a wreck.
  32. And then you get saved,
  33. and oh, now you have to start
  34. putting pieces in place.
  35. So, "...I recently became a Christian
  36. and acknowledged truths
  37. like not storing up treasure on earth,
  38. not being anxious for tomorrow,
  39. not idolizing your money
  40. or trusting in riches,
  41. trusting in God as a provider, etc.
  42. And I do not think giving is optional.
  43. Well, as a Christian, it is something
  44. you want to practice.
  45. You want to be able to give.
  46. And I think there's a text
  47. which says God provides or increases
  48. in order that we may be able to give more.
  49. So with these in mind,
  50. what is a good attitude to have
  51. considering your debts when giving.
  52. Should you give a small amount?
  53. Or does that show a lack of faith in God
  54. to provide from His own hand?
  55. Does that show more of a self-trust?
  56. Or should you give
    as you would like to give,
  57. as if you did have the means,
  58. trusting in Him for your
    financial situation.
  59. Or is that a lack of wisdom
  60. and lack of stewardship
  61. for your wife and kids?
  62. I've heard you say that as a church
  63. you have tried to intend to give more
  64. than your abilities as a matter of faith.
  65. Is this is wise or biblical concerning
  66. your home and family as well?
  67. Can you shed some light on the issue?
  68. Thanks."
  69. So, what principles do you think?
  70. That guy came to you
  71. and asked you about your thoughts on this.
  72. What are your thoughts?
  73. I mean, the Scriptures
    speak a ton about money.
  74. And so, what do you say?
  75. And this is real.
  76. I have had people come to me repeatedly
  77. who say, I'm in debt,
  78. I want to give,
  79. where do I draw the line?
  80. How do I balance that?
  81. What do I do?
  82. What's the best approach?
  83. Should I, one, continue to give
  84. generously?
  85. And trust the Lord?
  86. Or, should I basically put my giving,
  87. either totally on hold
  88. or reduce it significantly
  89. and attack this debt over here?
  90. What is the most God honoring way?
  91. That's really the issue here.
  92. What is the most God honoring way?
  93. What do you think?
  94. Any thoughts?
  95. (from the room)
  96. Would it be to pay off the debt first,
  97. and then to be freed from that debt,
  98. so you wouldn't be
  99. like a slave to the lender?
  100. Tim: OK, now there's a verse coming up
  101. right there.
  102. A slave to the lender.
  103. The borrower is servant or a slave
  104. to the lender.
  105. OK.
  106. Now that's a reality.
  107. You know, one of the things
  108. that could come up in
    a conversation like this
  109. is whether debt is even permissible
  110. to the Christian.
  111. But, if you get saved and
    you already have debt,
  112. and you don't have the ability
  113. to pay it off immediately,
  114. you're obviously in a situation
  115. that you have to deal with.
  116. Whatever your convictions are
  117. concerning whether a Christian ought
  118. to get further in debt,
  119. or whether it's permissible
    for a Christian
  120. to take out wise debt?
  121. Or a business loan?
  122. Or what exactly is forbidden in Scripture?
  123. What is permitted in Scripture?
  124. Some people would go to Romans
  125. and basically say,
  126. well, owe no man anything,
  127. except love.
  128. And so, if I'm not to owe any man anything
  129. then I'm not supposed to borrow money.
  130. Which Mueller basically took that approach
  131. and interpreted that passage that way.
  132. And I believe Hudson Taylor,
  133. kind of following Mueller's lead,
  134. was minded that way as well.
  135. I honestly - although those two men
  136. have been really significant
    in my own life
  137. as far as debt
  138. and as far as trusting God,
  139. I don't believe that they're exactly
  140. dealing with that text in Romans 13
  141. exactly right.
  142. But, I think that you could
  143. make a case for the fact -
  144. I would say from a stewardship standpoint,
  145. if I'm faced with a situation
  146. where I can take out a mortgage
  147. for a house,
  148. and be actually paying for the house,
  149. and it would cost me
    just the same to rent,
  150. but fifteen years down the road,
  151. the house is paid for,
  152. if I'm on a fifteen year mortgage.
  153. And if I'm renting, I
    have to go on renting.
  154. To me, the stewardship there,
  155. the wisdom is over here.
  156. And the thing is,
  157. it's not an unwise type of unsecured debt
  158. like a student loan.
  159. Student loans are horrible debt.
  160. Horrible debt.
  161. Because you've got no asset.
  162. And so what happens if you
  163. drop out of school
  164. and you don't end up getting
  165. a high paying job?
  166. You're wracked with all this debt.
  167. You've got nothing to show for it.
  168. It's unsecured.
  169. And it's just a mess.
  170. I would never, never advise
  171. people to take out that.
  172. But as far as a mortgage,
  173. you do have an asset.
  174. You have the home.
  175. If the bank has to foreclose,
  176. they're able to repossess your home.
  177. They at least have that asset
  178. that you borrowed the money on.
  179. And so even if you can't pay them back,
  180. they get the house back.
  181. You know my take -
  182. I think loans on cars are
  183. absolutely bad, bad stewardship.
  184. But, anyway, that's my take.
  185. (from the room)
  186. So what about all the people here
  187. who have student loans?
  188. Tim: Well, here's the thing.
  189. I had student loans.
  190. I didn't need them for school.
  191. I took them out to buy
    cars and motorcycles.
  192. But see, the thing was, I was lost.
  193. And I think what we're doing is
  194. we're dealing with a man here
  195. much like many of us.
  196. We wake up one day,
  197. our eyes are opened,
  198. God has saved us,
  199. and now we look at our situation
  200. and we recognize... Oh.
  201. Scripture definitely has something to say
  202. about debt.
  203. The borrower is servant to the lender.
  204. That doesn't necessarily mean
  205. it's absolutely forbidden,
  206. but that's a reality.
  207. And that is a reality
  208. that as long as you're in debt,
  209. you don't have the freedom.
  210. Why? Because you're a slave.
  211. You don't have the freedom
  212. that you would otherwise have.
  213. Oh, there's nothing like
    being out of debt.
  214. Everything is paid for.
  215. Because there's a freedom in that.
  216. But, OK, let's say it's desirable.
  217. But does that undo the fact
  218. that we have consistent commandments
  219. in Scripture to give?
  220. Anybody throw some verses out?
  221. Or be able to quote some passages
  222. that have to do with giving?
  223. One of my favorites as a young believer
  224. was the one found in Luke 6.
  225. Give, and it shall be given to you,
  226. pressed down,
  227. shaken together,
  228. and overflowing.
  229. Now if you think about
  230. putting something -
  231. you know, you put gravel
  232. or wheat or corn or whatever -
  233. it's the idea that you put it in a basket
  234. and you shake it.
  235. When you shake it, it settles.
  236. And it's not just shaken
  237. so that there's no air
  238. or the least amount of air in there.
  239. But it's actually pressed down.
  240. It's the idea you shake it together,
  241. you press it down,
  242. and then you just keep filling it
  243. until it's overflowing.
  244. That is a promise.
  245. So here's the thing,
  246. if I've got a promise in Scripture
  247. that if I give, it's going
    to be given to me
  248. in abundance -
  249. "Shall men give into your lap."
  250. What's that mean?
  251. Well, it means that God is
  252. going to give you favor with people.
  253. Now, even though I am not one
  254. to advocate Old Testament tithing,
  255. because I don't think the New Testament
  256. does that.
  257. But I am one to advocate the principle
  258. behind the tithing.
  259. Remember what God said to Israel?
  260. He said, "test Me."
  261. Here's the thing, if I'm in debt -
  262. because I was here.
  263. I was here.
  264. When I first got saved,
  265. I had that tension between,
  266. OK, I'm in debt,
  267. and I want to give.
  268. And then I got out of debt.
  269. But then I got back into debt
  270. with this house.
  271. And I wanted it paid off.
  272. We paid it off in six years.
  273. But let me tell you,
  274. during that six years,
  275. Ruby and I did not reduce our giving.
  276. And the thing was,
  277. I remember a time when we literally
  278. could go around our house
  279. and say that sofa -
    so-and-so gave it to us.
  280. That end table - so-and-so gave it to us.
  281. That thing over there -
  282. somebody gave us that.
  283. That lamp over there.
  284. These lamps right here.
  285. These plants right here.
  286. There was a time we could
  287. basically go around
    all of our stuff -
  288. those bookshelves over there,
    that dining room table,
  289. those chairs there...
  290. people gave all those things to us.
  291. Or God brought them to us some way.
  292. We had this GE refrigerator -
  293. Sid was just talking about the fact
  294. that Ruby and I were the first ones
  295. to buy a mobile home from them.
  296. Before we lived in this house,
  297. we bought a mobile home
  298. from Alamo Homes.
  299. And I remember,
  300. I got a free refrigerator thrown in -
  301. GE refrigerator -
  302. That thing lasted.
  303. We brought it here.
  304. It lasted a long time.
  305. It just kept going and going
  306. and going and going and going.
  307. The thing I'm pointing at is this,
  308. that I don't think it's either/or.
  309. And with all the promises that are
  310. attached to giving,
  311. don't let the charismatics
  312. and the health/wealth prosperity people
  313. dull these promises
  314. in your own mind.
  315. God is faithful.
  316. And you know,
  317. there's the one that scatters
  318. and he all the more increases.
  319. And there's the one that holds back
  320. what he shouldn't hold back,
  321. and it only tends to poverty.
  322. I love that proverb too.
  323. Because I lived on those things.
  324. I lived on the promises of Isaiah 58.
  325. You're helping people
  326. and you're giving to people.
  327. And I think the thing that you want to do
  328. if you're in the place like this guy,
  329. is you want to do both.
  330. It's not an either/or.
  331. You want to test God -
  332. you don't want to be foolish.
  333. You want to do what you do prayerfully.
  334. You don't want to just run
    out and do something
  335. because Mueller did it.
  336. But you know what you want to do,
  337. you want to study
    the promises of God
  338. and you want to act in faith.
  339. Prayerfully act in faith.
  340. And I'm not going to say that there's one
  341. specific way to do it.
  342. I remember, and I've
    told this story before,
  343. but it's always stuck with me.
  344. My pastor out at Community Baptist Church,
  345. Pat Horner,
  346. drove over to Houston to a conference.
  347. He got into Houston,
  348. his car was on E (empty),
  349. going to this conference.
  350. He's got $20 in his pocket.
  351. And that's his gas money to get home.
  352. And went he sat in this meeting,
  353. at the end of the meeting,
  354. they have a missionary go up
  355. and the pastor says this brother so-and-so
  356. is trying to get to
    whatever country it was,
  357. and they brought out one of those 5 gallon
  358. paint buckets and they set it down there
  359. and said can we help send this guy?
  360. Pat just felt led.
  361. He took the $20 out
  362. and he threw it in there.
  363. How was he going to get home?
  364. You see, he did that by faith.
  365. He did that by faith - it wasn't foolish.
  366. He felt led of the Lord to do it.
  367. He recognized that he wasn't
  368. going to be able to get back.
  369. And he said he threw the money in there,
  370. the service is over,
  371. and he said he was going down the aisle
  372. of the church building
  373. headed out the back door.
  374. He said a man that he
    had never met in his life
  375. came up to him,
  376. and put his hand on his
  377. and pressed $20 into it.
  378. And he told him,
  379. I have no idea why I'm giving this to you.
  380. The Lord just impressed it upon me.
  381. And you know, when the Lord does
  382. that kind of thing to you,
  383. that's amazing.
  384. You want that to happen more.
  385. Charles Leiter tells me
  386. about Keith McCloud.
  387. This brother would get himself into places
  388. where he wouldn't have gas.
  389. And he would drive all the way home
  390. on E (empty).
  391. We're talking hundreds of miles on E.
  392. And he just prayed the whole time.
  393. So, what's that?
  394. And Hudson Taylor,
  395. you probably know the story
  396. or you've heard somebody say it before,
  397. but he had a thousand missionaries
  398. in the China Inland Mission.
  399. But more than that,
  400. and he didn't have money to pay them.
  401. Many of them had wives,
  402. they had children.
  403. He didn't have any money.
  404. And one of the other missionaries
  405. saw him in his office just whistling.
  406. He loved that song that John Sytsma loves.
  407. Jesus, I am resting, resting...
  408. And he was whistling that song,
  409. and one of the missionaries
  410. was watching him and thought,
  411. are you for real?
  412. You've got all these
    missionaries at your care
  413. and no money's coming in.
  414. He said I've got a quarter in my pocket
  415. and all the promises of God.
  416. You see, that's the thing.
  417. If you've got promises that
  418. if you scatter, you increase.
  419. If you hold back, it tends to poverty.
  420. Well, I can tell you which one is smart.
  421. (incomplete thought)
  422. It's kind of like the farmer.
  423. You know, if the farmer
  424. throws a lot out there,
  425. prospect for a good harvest.
  426. If he's really stingy in what he throws,
  427. he just throws a couple seeds,
  428. he just gets a couple stalks of wheat.
  429. All because he needs to hoard it.
  430. Gotta keep it.
  431. But see, that's the very
    principle of Scripture
  432. that we should scatter.
  433. Now, there's different kinds of debt.
  434. You know, it's one thing
  435. when I'm living in this house
  436. and I had a 20 year mortgage
  437. and I wanted to pay it off fast.
  438. That's different than
  439. he's $400 behind right now.
  440. So, that's kind of a different situation.
  441. He's in a position where
  442. he owes somebody money
  443. and it's past due.
  444. It's one thing to have debt
  445. where you owe people,
  446. but you're making your payments on time.
  447. It's another thing when you're behind.
  448. And I would make that a real priority.
  449. But see, I don't think that
  450. the only things in the equation
  451. are whether you give to the Lord
  452. or whether you pay your debt.
  453. The reason I'm saying that
  454. is because there's more money in our lives
  455. than just what we pay debt with
  456. and what we give with.
  457. He's got other bills.
  458. He's got mouths to feed.
  459. He talked about having children.
  460. There's other things happening.
  461. There's gasoline that's being used.
  462. So what I would say to somebody
  463. is all the other money,
  464. there needs to be some real discipline.
  465. There needs to be some real sacrifice.
  466. You know, you can get this tension
  467. where you're feeling like,
  468. oh, well I've got debt over here,
  469. but I also want to be able to give.
  470. But I think you need to give consideration
  471. to all the other money
  472. that's being used in your life.
  473. Like, if you're in that kind of situation,
  474. you would not be going out to eat.
  475. You would not be going to a movie.
  476. You would not be taking a vacation.
  477. You would not be using gas
  478. for things that are unnecessary.
  479. You basically have to make sacrifices.
  480. (Incomplete thought)
  481. Brethren, we had a family
  482. in the church years ago
  483. who came to our deacons
  484. because he couldn't make
  485. his mortgage payment.
  486. And a week before that,
  487. he took his wife to Dallas
  488. for their anniversary.
  489. See, and I don't know
    what the situation is here,
  490. but I'll tell you this,
  491. if you're $400 behind,
  492. I would give in very reserved fashion.
  493. I would not give liberally
  494. because I don't think it's right
  495. for you to go taking a bunch of money
  496. and putting it in the church box
  497. when you've got somebody out there
  498. that you owe money to.
  499. If I was in his place,
  500. I would give
  501. and I would eat rice and beans.
  502. If you've got to turn the A/C off
  503. or put it at 82.
  504. We're not buying clothes.
  505. We're not buying new shoes
  506. for the children when school starts.
  507. None of that.
  508. You're not doing that.
  509. You've got to make sacrifices.
  510. But the other thing is income.
  511. You know, a man can work
  512. more than one job.
  513. My brother-in-law, I remember,
  514. when we were starting a family,
  515. my brother-in-law Rick had a family.
  516. He had three jobs.
  517. I remember it was rare that
    we would see him home,
  518. because he'd get up in the morning,
  519. he'd go to one job,
  520. he'd get off,
  521. he'd go to another job,
  522. he'd be coming in like at midnight
  523. from the 3rd job.
  524. Look, if you've got to work three jobs...
  525. Work is the way out of debt.
  526. Work is the way out
    of difficulties like this.
  527. Work and sacrifice.
  528. You can't live like the Joneses.
  529. Any other thoughts?
  530. (from the room)
  531. Do you think it would be wrong
  532. as far as how you would define giving -
  533. we could always think of giving
  534. as a monetary value.
  535. Would it be right for this guy,
  536. like I might not be able to give
  537. so much monetarily,
  538. but Lord, I want to be able to give
  539. in different ways, just to serve?
  540. Tim: Yeah, it might be that.
  541. It might be, you know what?
  542. I can't really give money right now,
  543. but I can go paint the church building.
  544. I can go mow the lawn.
  545. Yeah, it could be that kind of thing.
  546. There's lots of ways to give to people.
  547. And you know, in some societies
  548. where the giving might be -
  549. you hear about preachers
    that get a chicken.
  550. There are other things of value
  551. that we may have.
  552. It doesn't come down to just
  553. whether I'm able to put
    some bills in the box.
  554. Brethren, I think one thing that
  555. just needs to grip us.
  556. You know, if you look back
  557. at the kings of Judah.
  558. One of them went by the name of Amaziah.
  559. Amaziah - he was the one
  560. who took like a hundred talents of gold,
  561. and I believe he was going to battle
  562. against Ben Hadad of Assyria.
  563. And he paid a hundred talents of gold
  564. to another king to
    basically send mercenaries
  565. to join his own forces.
  566. And the prophet came to him and said,
  567. What are you doing?
  568. We have the Lord on our side.
  569. You don't need that.
  570. And the king had already given the money.
  571. What do I do about
  572. the hundred talents of gold?
  573. What do I do about that?
  574. And the prophet said,
  575. what's that?
  576. The Lord's able to give you much more
  577. if He wants to.
  578. There's a place in Haggai
  579. where it says
  580. the silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,
  581. saith the Lord.
  582. See, that's the thing that
  583. we really have to recognize.
  584. I could tell you stories
  585. about my own family
  586. and our finances
  587. and the church and its finances.
  588. And the stories that I've read
  589. about men that really impacted me
  590. in this area.
  591. Just the accounts, the testimony
  592. of God's faithfulness.
  593. It's all the Lord's.
  594. You have as much as you have
  595. because the Lord has determined
  596. for you to have exactly that much.
  597. He could make you more wealthy
  598. than Bill Gates,
  599. if that was His intention.
  600. He can do that.
  601. He has not forgotten His people.
  602. If you're in a situation
  603. where you give
  604. and you're seeking to test Him -
  605. not presumptuously,
  606. but faithfully - you're testing Him,
  607. because He says, "test Me,"
  608. because He's given these promises.
  609. And you say, Lord,
  610. I'm going to trust these promises.
  611. You say that if I give,
  612. men will give to me
  613. into my lap.
  614. They will give pressed
    down, shaken together,
  615. and overflowing.
  616. I'm going to test You, Lord.
  617. Because I want to see Your faithfulness.
  618. I want to see You do this.
  619. There's a joy in giving.
  620. It's more blessed to give than to receive.
  621. And God will cause that to be the reality.
  622. But then, if you've given
  623. and then you're in a place of need.
  624. What better way to come before the Lord
  625. and say Lord, I've given, and...
  626. Repeatedly, I can come and say,
  627. Lord, I need money for whatever.
  628. Grace needs a vehicle.
  629. Or Joshua is going to go to college.
  630. Lord, if I'd taken the
    money that I've given
  631. and I basically - it would have
  632. put Joshua through school
  633. and we'd have a vehicle,
  634. but I didn't.
  635. I gave it, but now I'm in need.
  636. That's the perfect place to be.
  637. Because the Lord says
  638. that if you're pouring yourself out
  639. for the hungry - spiritually hungry -
  640. you're giving.
  641. People put money in that box.
  642. We're supporting missionaries.
    We're supporting the spread of the Gospel.
  643. We're supporting I'll Be Honest.
  644. We're supporting Bibles that go out.
  645. We're supporting all manner of
  646. different kinds of evangelistic outreaches
  647. and tracts,
  648. and supporting men who preach the Gospel.
  649. That's the greater hunger.
  650. And the promises there in Isaiah 58
  651. is when the merciful man cries out
  652. in need, God says, I'm going
    to say to that man,
  653. "Here I am."
  654. See, that's what happens.
  655. Lord, I have tried to be mindful
  656. when other people have been in need.
  657. And now I'm in need.
  658. See, there's a promise in Scripture
  659. that says God's going to say, "Here I am."
  660. It's like when you can say,
  661. Lord, I've got these needs now
  662. and You said - Lord,
    I've got it right here.
  663. You said that You would take care of me
  664. when I get into exactly
    this kind of situation.
  665. And what I have found out is He will.
  666. Every single time.
  667. And I've been able to say that
  668. about our church.
  669. Every single time.
  670. Every single need that our church
  671. has ever had.
  672. If there's been a financial need,
  673. the Lord has provided for it,
  674. every single time.
  675. There's no exceptions.
  676. He's been faithful every single time.
  677. Any other thoughts on that one?
  678. (from the room)
  679. Just another quick testimony.
  680. Robert Chapman -
  681. they were ready to leave
  682. a conference at the train station,
  683. but they had no money.
  684. Chapman had been given some money
  685. at the conference,
  686. but then almost immediately
  687. given it to someone who he felt
  688. needed it more.
  689. On the way to the railway station,
  690. Fisher reminded Chapman
  691. that they had no money.
  692. Mr. Chapman replied,
  693. "To whom does the money belong
  694. and the cattle upon a thousand hills?"
  695. When they reached the station,
  696. a man on an arriving train
  697. recognized Chapman.
  698. He hurried over,
  699. handed him a five pound note
  700. and said, "I've had this in my pocket
  701. for some time and I'm glad I met you."
  702. He then got back on
    his train which departed.
  703. After a moment, Chapman
    asked his companion,
  704. "To whom does the money belong?"
  705. Tim: And Hudson Taylor had
  706. a very similar situation.
  707. He was traveling the U.S.
  708. He was at a train station in St. Louis.
  709. Again, just like he was there whistling
  710. when he's got a thousand missionaries
  711. and nothing to pay those guys.
  712. Here he is standing in the line
  713. to get a ticket for the train,
  714. and he's got no money.
  715. And the guy ahead of
    him is getting agitated.
  716. He's feeling this conviction.
  717. You need to buy Hudson Taylor's
  718. train ticket.
  719. And so they get all the way up there,
  720. and the guy can't bear it any longer.
  721. So he turns around,
  722. and either he gave him the money
  723. or he said I'm going to buy your ticket.
  724. And then Taylor tells him
  725. I didn't have any money.
  726. And the guy was actually
    frustrated with him.
  727. What? You just stood there in this line?
  728. And you didn't say anything?
  729. That just proved the point.
  730. I don't have to say anything.
  731. Because God knows.
  732. Christina - have we not heard
  733. the report that came there from China?
  734. She didn't have the money for rent
  735. and a lost - listen -
  736. the Chinese - I'm not saying
    Americans are much better,
  737. but different countries kind of
  738. have their different sins.
  739. But if there's something
    that the Chinese are,
  740. they are cold; they are heartless.
  741. They are not a merciful people.
  742. And here is this lost neighbor
  743. who comes and gives Christina
  744. a large sum of money,
  745. and the exact amount that was needed
  746. to pay the rent that she couldn't pay.
  747. That's the kind of thing that happens.
  748. I remember reading the story
  749. about a widow,
  750. and she didn't have any food,
  751. and she lived in an apartment complex,
  752. and some really wicked man
  753. came and left - he felt prompted -
  754. and he left a bag of groceries there.
  755. He could hear the woman,
  756. either through the wall
  757. or through the window
  758. praising the Lord.
  759. And he couldn't bear that
  760. and he had to tell her
  761. that God didn't bring you those groceries.
  762. I brought you those groceries.
  763. And she said, "Oh no,
  764. the Lord brought those to me
  765. even if he has to use the devil to do it."
  766. (incomplete thought)
  767. But you don't need to know
  768. the means by which it will come.
  769. You can exhaust your own thinking
  770. and your own resources,
  771. and you can rule out -
  772. well, it's not going to happen this way;
  773. it's not going to happen that way.
  774. I've told this story before,
  775. but I got to a certain place
  776. where we had gotten into some degree
  777. of debt over a vehicle that we bought.
  778. And I did in the past
  779. what I would not recommend anybody do now
  780. with regards to a vehicle.
  781. There was a reason I did it,
  782. because I had like $3,500 on a GM card
  783. and it was probably the
  784. worst automobile mistake
    I made in my life.
  785. But I got into some debt over that van,
  786. and then Ruby had started
  787. her cheesecake business.
  788. And I just asked the Lord,
  789. Lord, would You please allow us
  790. to be out of debt by the end of the year?
  791. And suddenly, anonymous checks
  792. for $1500, $2000 started showing up
  793. in the mail.
  794. And we were going to my mom's at Christmas
  795. and I got almost all the debt paid off,
  796. except for about $1500.
  797. We're going to be heading out of town,
  798. so I won't be able to
    check the mail anymore.
  799. And I thought,
  800. Ruby, I just want to
    check the church mail.
  801. All the checks up to that time
  802. had come to my home.
  803. I thought, let's just
    check the church mail
  804. because we're going to be out of town
  805. for two weeks - to make sure
  806. there's not a backlog in the P.O. box.
  807. And there was a letter for me.
  808. And it perfectly paid off
  809. and got me out of debt.
  810. And then I started thinking,
  811. you know if those checks keep coming,
  812. now that I'm out of debt,
  813. they never kept coming.
  814. It was all over.
  815. Nobody else knew.
  816. Nobody human knew
  817. that I had asked the Lord -
  818. and every time one of those would come in,
  819. I remember putting them out
  820. on the dining room table
  821. and calling all the children around.
  822. Children, look.
  823. Daddy prayed and look what the Lord did.
  824. OK.
  825. Any other thoughts?