[ Home | Resume | Credits | In Development | Articles & News | Links ]
 
Daring To Live On The Edge
The Adventure of Faith and Finances
By Loren Cunningham
 
Insights From The Book Written By Barbara Robbins

The author's purpose in writing this book was to help Christians see God's ways and better learn how to trust Him. It was written with two types of readers in mind. First, it was written for the full-time missionary or Christian worker or potential worker who needs to know how to step out, to trust and obey God for finances. The second reader in mind was the person working in a "secular" job, who needs to learn not only how to obey God, but to trust Him for the miraculous. God has designed that His work be done in partnership, so both people are essential to God's purposes.

What is Bible faith?

"Bible faith is neither blind nor a leap. It is walking in the light."

"(Bible) faith is a strong assurance in God's character, knowing that even if you can't see the solution to your problem, God can."

Bible faith "requires that you do the possible and let God do the impossible." It operates only when we have no other resource than God.

Bible faith starts with hearing God. It includes taking specific steps of obedience which He shows us to take. But our best is not enough, so Bible faith also involves trusting God to do what we cannot do, in His way and in His time. Since His timing is not usually our timing, it also involves waiting on God, giving Him the opportunity to act.

Our trust in God must be grounded in our knowledge of His character. The author suggests several practical ways to grow in our knowledge of God, so that we can learn to walk in faith. His suggestions include an on-going study of the attributes of God in the Bible, reading stories of His faithfulness both in the Bible and in modern times, and writing down and reflecting upon times in our own lives when God came through for us. Diligent study in these areas will build our faith and enable us to trust Him more fully.

Living with an Invisible Source of Support

Sometimes walking in faith means going out on a limb (because God tells you to) and staying on the end of that limb even though it looks like Satan is cutting it off. "How can you make sure that God will hold you up when the devil saws off your limb? The key is obedience to God and having a personal knowledge of the One you are trusting."

"We must fight the tendency to rely on the seen world instead of the unseen world. What is unseen is really more secure and reliable."

"If we are trusting Him for finances, He has to lead every move we make. He has our full attention to teach us about His character, His ways, and His power…. He would rather teach us His ways, and see our character grow and our faith increased, than to immediately provide for our needs."

"The key to living by invisible means of support is hearing His voice and obeying what He tells you to do. And beware of the trap of expecting Him to lead you the same way every time. Keep flexible and open to His guidance."
Learning obedience in finances often involves surrendering our rights. For example, Loren tells of a period of three years when God provided three or four good suits, but required him to surrender the right of choice in the suits. "But while this met a definite need, and they were always good, serviceable suits, I found it was a 'tailor-made' test from God to my pride."

"In order to learn to live by faith in the area of finances, we must rely on an outside source of information, not just on our own perception of the circumstances. It's like flying an airplane on instruments. The view ahead is sometimes murky and bleak, but we can stay right-side-up and on course with the correct information. That source of outside information is the Word of God… Choosing not to worry will require as much power of will as it would for a pilot to rely on his instrument panel rather than his own senses when flying through fog."

Obedience in Giving

"We break the gridlock of greed with Spirit-led generosity. We counter the spirit of manipulation and control by having a servant heart. We meet pride with humility and quiet dignity."

"Obedience in giving is an act of spiritual warfare… Any amount - even a widow's mite - given selflessly and in obedience batters the powers of darkness right up to Lucifer himself….Giving sacrificially (in obedience to God) - to the point where you are trusting God to meet your needs - also drives back Satan in the area of fear."

Requirements to Live by Faith

1. Don't worry about money.
2. Make sure I am seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
3. Be diligent and responsible.
4. Invest money in the Kingdom of God and see it grow.
5. Be generous. Remember, everything you are and have belongs to God, so ask His direction on how to use it.

(God) "uses money or the lack of it, to test us, to see what is in our hearts… When our financial brook runs dry, we are ready to listen to the Lord who wants our willful dependence on Him… We need to realize that the lack of money is just as definitely from God as the provision of money… When the brook dries up, we need to ask God how to move on, like Elijah did."

What happens when you hear from the Lord, move out to obey Him, and the money runs out? God's promises are never automatic - they are always based on our fulfilling conditions.

Questions We Should Ask When The Money Runs Out
Do I love things more than I love God? "Sometimes God withholds money until we set our priorities straight… Idolatry is simply living for something other than God."
Have I missed the will of God? "There is a great difference between faith and presumption. Faith is based on hearing God's voice and doing what He tells you to do. Presumption may appear to be spiritual on the surface, perhaps something you are 'doing for God,' but in fact, you have moved out on your own without consulting Him."
Am I in debt? "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another…"
(Romans 13:8 NASB)
"Debt can be the reason you are in financial difficulty. God in His love for you holds up your finances until you set matters straight and learn to live responsibly within His provision for you."
Have I been tithing? "Malachi chapter three states that we are robbing God if we are not giving one-tenth of our income on a regular basis. If we obey Him and start tithing, God promises in Malachi 3:11 (NASB) to ' rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes'… If your finances are being devoured, perhaps you have not been diligently obeying God in this area."
Have I been generous? "Only the opposite spirit works against the enemy in any situation. If you pray against the devil and his withholding funds for God's work, it may be necessary to break that spirit of greed by an act of generosity on your part."
Have I been grateful for God's provision? "…the Lord is more interested in changing us into His likeness than in feeding us. Gratitude for what He has given us already is a great part of our learning His ways and character."
Have I been faithful over the small things? "God in His faithfulness will not subject us to the test of abundant money until we have been faithful with our nickels and dimes… Whatever big projects or goals He has put in our hearts to do, He will not release them until we pass our tests in the day of small things."
Have I disobeyed anything God has told me? "Sometimes a lack of finances can be God's signal to us that we have gotten off the track somewhere. It's amazing how our pocketbooks can get our attention, even when we ignore the clanging alarms of our conscience. God knows that, and in love and mercy to us sometimes withholds our provision until we seek Him and repent."
Have I asked God to supply my need? "James 4:2 says, 'You do not have, because you do not ask God.' Many times we assume that God knows all about our needs, and just wait for Him to provide. He may be waiting for something as simple as our asking."
Am I more interested in learning what God is trying to teach me or am I more interested in having my needs met? "What God teaches us is built into our character and our knowledge of Him and His ways. These are the treasures in heaven of Matthew 6:20 which we are accumulating. These treasures can never be taken away from us."

Is there "sin in the camp"? "This question very appropriate if you are in leadership and a group is suffering financial setbacks that are otherwise unexplainable."
Am I reaping from past sins or wrong choices? "When we have to live with the consequences of our sin, reaping their effects even after we have received God's forgiveness, it builds a hatred for sin into us… When we suffer consequences, we will not be as likely to sin in that way again."
Have I been working hard?  
Have I touched God's glory? "This means taking credit away from the Lord and giving it to yourself."
 Have I been independent and proud? "Often we can be asking God to supply a need, but refusing His help when He sends it… Maybe we aren't willing to humble ourselves and ask others to help in our ministry."
Have I been looking to people rather than God to supply my needs? "The Bible calls this relying on the 'arm of flesh' (2 Chronicles 32:8).
Am I fearful of the future? "Many are so bound by fear of the future that they cannot step out and obey God. They refuse His call and stay where they are in disobedience."
Is this an attack of Satan? "If it is something Satan is doing to you, not something you are responsible for yourself, you can easily withstand him with the authority Jesus has given you as a believer. Command the devil to withdraw from you, according to James 4:7. Then ask God to show you how to counter Satan's attacks by moving in the opposite spirit."
Is God Himself testing me to see if I will remain faithful to Him in difficulty? "Testing always requires an element of time. Your financial provision may seem late, but God may have a different time schedule. Wait on Him, realizing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (James 1:3). Determine that you will not give up, and that you will overcome by believing and trusting in God."

During a time of waiting:

Recount God's faithfulness to you from the past. One good way to do this is to go back to old journals and read of all the times you have seen God intervene on your behalf.

Thank God for supplying your past needs.

Refuse to blame others for your need.

Avoid the trap of comparing your lot with that of others.

Realize the difference between true needs (food, clothing, and shelter) and perceived needs. Thank God that all our real needs are being met, and He is going beyond the minimum to meet some of our perceived needs (our wants).

Meditate on Psalm 37.

Copyright 1999
Top Secret Productions, Inc.