May 2020: The Righteous Enjoy Plenty In Time Of Famine
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With this newsletter, I want to give you the ability to trust that the Lord is going to take care of your financial needs. When I first went to the mission field, I came from a very small Calvary Chapel. While the ministry and fellowship were a great blessing to me, the church slowly began to lose members, and today it no longer exists. During the years I attended, to my knowledge, I was the only missionary to be sent out from the church. I had always heard from other missionaries that when you were sent out from your home church, they would normally support you with $250 a month. I had probably been one of the most active members at the church. I attended two prayer meetings a week and went to home fellowship every week. In the three years I attended, I never missed going to home fellowship or any of the services. I was involved in the evangelistic outreach and went out street witnessing on a regular basis, as well as any other ministry opportunities that presented themselves. When I applied to be supported, I was picked up, but not at $250, but $25. I remember thinking, wow, Lord I got a 90% deduction! I remember sitting down and making a list of everyone I knew and tried to guess if they would financially support me. After summarizing the list, I was sure that I would have enough to get started. To my surprise, almost all who were on that list never supported. There were two families I barely knew who would become supporters. One for $50, and the other was more generous, but I do not remember how much they gave.
To my surprise, all of the people who I thought would give, did not. I remember praying because I knew it would take at least $2,000 just to move and get started, and I had almost no support. But I had felt the Lord say, “Go and just trust Me.” I had worked for a brother, selling office supplies by phone, and had built up about $1,500 a month in recurring commissions. We made an agreement before I started working for him that if I found and established my own accounts, I would be allowed to maintain them by phone when I went to the mission field. With the few hundred dollars I had from support, plus the $1,500, I took a step of faith and went. The second month I was on the field, the brother called and said that he would no longer honor the agreement with me maintaining my accounts. At first, I started to get angry and was about to have a heated argument with him because he had broken his word. But before I said anything the Lord said, “Wes, let it go. You are going to be too busy with the work and I will take care of you.” Nine months into being on the mission field, my home church called to let me know that they would no longer be sending the $25 a month. Before I left for the field, I had about $25,000 in debt. The Lord had told me to go, but I delayed trying to pay off the debt. I had worked hard trying to pay off the debt but made little progress. In frustration, I complained to the Lord, and said, “You told me to go, but I have made no progress in clearing this debt.” I felt the Lord impress on my heart, “I did not tell you to pay off the debt but to go.” Then, as I prayed, I felt an impression on my heart. I felt as if the Lord was speaking to me telling me to go and that He would take care of the debt within two years.
I made the decision to trust and go. In my heart I knew that I could live with going out and falling on my face, having failed, and then have to crawl back and start all over again. But what I could not live with was not knowing could it have been God’s will. I remember having so little money and being concerned that I would not have enough to eat; I went to Vons and I found these little boxes of cornbread that sold for 33 cents and purchased about 15 of them. I thought if worse comes to worse, I can always eat one of these for dinner. The next two years I was so busy with the Lord’s work that it passed quickly. And two months short of two years, I was debt free. How? It was just the Lord’s faithful provision. The Lord kept His promise and had taken care of all my needs. Several years later, I discovered in the back of my cupboard, the boxes of cornbread—I had forgotten about them because the Lord had always sustained me.
One of the great ways that we know the Lord is real is when we pray for provision 500 times and 500 times He provides. The Lord gives reassurance to the righteous that they will be taken care of in hard times. He says in Psalm 112: “Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord…He has scattered his gifts to the poor.” When we are generous with the poor and needy the Lord remembers. In Acts chapter 10, we have the story of the righteous Roman centurion. At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian regiment. He was devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and gave to the poor regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it Lord?” He asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” The Lord remembers your gifts and sacrifices for His people and kingdom. What we need to do during this difficult time is pray. The Bible says that you have not because you ask not. If you are struggling, pray and trust. Do what you know to be right.
I always tell the chaplains that when you know what the right thing to do is, do it immediately because if you do not, you will compromise in your relationship with the Lord. The Bible tells us in Psalm 37:19 that the righteous enjoy plenty in times of famine. In 2008, when the economy crashed, I was on the board of several Christian organizations. All of them decided to cut their giving. I advised all of them not to make this mistake, but instead to trust the Lord. But each chose to make the cuts and their tithing dropped dramatically. But we made the decision to trust the Lord, and not only give, but to increase our giving. While others suffered, Far Reaching Ministries did not. We only had one month where we were financially a little down and that was February with 28 days. Had there been another two or three days that month, we would have been normal while others went through drastic down turns. In keeping with consistent giving, we leveled off for about a year and then began to grow again. The very act of faith moves the hand of God. This is not blind faith—you have to be seeking the Lord and making right decisions. As a believer, we need to live with a budget and make wise financial choices.
The Bible tells us that if we diligently seek Him, we will find Him. I want to encourage you to trust, seek and believe. The photos for this newsletter are a testimony to God’s faithful provision.
Far Reaching Ministries