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women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
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I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
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               Sonya Contreras

Emergency Spending


My husband and I agree on a designated budgeted amount for groceries, home, pets, clothing, whatever I want. He doesn’t ask how I spend it. But he expects me to stay within the boundaries.

I’ve had the same amount for almost 20 years. So when the boys were teenagers (I had four at one time) and a few in college, I had to forget house repairs, so I could prepare a son for college and buy groceries. Or when my husband made more than our first years of poverty and school, I still had to live within that budget.

I can always find a reason to spend. It’s fun to give to others. It’s Christmas after all or birthdays. Don’t they come up all year? I must prepare my sons for life. We moved to a house, don’t I need curtains and furniture?

Then I have the added expense (which I call the BLACK HOLE) of my writing, which requires much editing, a book cover, advertising (for a few pittance sales).

As I spend, I subtract my expenses from my allowed amount and find to my dismay (once again, surprise, surprise) that I am over my amount.

I lack discipline.
Shouldn’t I have learned this by now? I have been doing this—how many years?

My problem isn’t my spending, nor my lack of discipline, nor my wants. But what I do with them.

Isn’t it right to want to give gifts? to provide for my family? to fix my house?
It’s not the needs that are wrong.
It’s how I meet those needs.
I want what I want NOW.
Abraham was promised a son. That was a legitimate need.
But he had to wait how many years? 20 years? before he received it.
King Saul couldn’t wait for Samuel the prophet to offer the sacrifices before his battle, so he did.
The Jews wanted to make Jesus King, not so they could worship Him, but so they could get the Romans off their backs and they could get a free meal with bread and fish. 
They wanted what they wanted now.
But life is more than your needs.
God wanted to teach them how much they needed something else more than their need.
When Abraham replaced Sarah with Hagar, he manipulated God’s timing. He took control and brought trouble.

When King Saul offered the sacrifice, he overstepped his boundaries, even as king. God rejected his offering. He lost the battle and even lost his son’s right to reign as king (1 Samuel 13).

When the Jews tried to make Jesus king, they lost their opportunity to worship Him.

Without waiting God’s timing, NOW makes the need an emergency.
Emergency brings urgency.
Urgency brings loss. (The saying “Haste makes waste” is still true.)
By pressing to fulfill their need NOW, they lost the fulfilment of the greater need, one they didn’t realize they had.

God gives us needs. Not so we can rush to fill them.
But so we can bring them to Him for Him to meet.

Remember the article Do You Let Your Husband Love You? 
God is greater than your husband. And He wants to love you too.

When you rush to buy something you need, you thwart what God wants you to have on a deeper level.
He wants to change you.

Sometimes God wants others to meet your needs.He’s been working in their hearts, convicting them to be less selfish. God has prepared them to give to you.
But when you run out and buy what you need, and have no needs, no one can give.
You’ve taken that “gift” away.
You don’t realize you are loved by God’s family because no one can give in your need. (That is a humbling thing, by the way, to accept from others.)
God has made us a family to help each other.

Most of our furniture was either given to us, or found at thrift stores or even along the side of the road with “free” signs. A miracle from God. We were blessed. So were the givers.
We were thankful, not greater in debt.

When you buy all that you need, you must do it yourself.
That’s where the struggle comes. 
You CAN’T DO IT BY YOURSELF. (SEE Are You Strong Enough?)
By spending on yourself, you don’t have anything left to give others.
Money becomes your master. You’re a slave to pay back what is owed and to care for what you now have.
That emergency spending isn’t for you to spend now. But for you to wait. 
Remove your control. Allow God to work a miracle. 

When my husband was in the Philippines, he met a poor Christian church.
They worked in the jungles during the time when a missionary was taken hostage and killed. Muslims trained their converts there.
This church was persecuted. They lived in dire poverty.

But do you know what they did when a care package of clothes from America came?
They gave it to those who weren't in their church, who were poorer than them.
They didn’t see their need, when others had greater needs

God gives us needs. So we can bring them to Him to learn He is enough.
Maybe the need didn’t get fulfilled. and you must wait. (DEEP SIGH.)
Maybe you don’t need what you think you do.
By waiting to buy, maybe someone didn’t give you what you thought you needed. 
Know what I found? Sometimes, I didn’t need it as much as I thought. 
It would have been an added weight.

George Mueller lived like a poor missionary to show people what he valued was eternal.

There’s nothing wrong with nice things. I like nice things (probably way too much.) But check your heart. Is having new and nice what motivates? There will always be something newer and nicer that grabs your attention.

It’s a temptation for me to keep looking at an item after I purchase the solution to a “need.” Did I get the best thing? Amazon makes it easy when you buy a vacuum cleaner. They’ll show you all the possible vacuum cleaners you should have purchased.
Move on.
Be content.

If you can’t wait, and you don’t give it to God, it becomes a weight that binds you.
You can’t keep up. You’re in debt, maybe not by money, but by your drive to get the next solution to your problem.
These are things. Of. Temporary. Value. Wood, hay and stubble.
Yes, we need wood to build our homes. They are important. 
But they are not urgent.
They aren’t an emergency.
They can wait, until God gives it to you.
Or until He shows you some “thing” better.

And it won’t be a thing.
The emergency drove you to Him in a way nothing else will.
Your need isn’t so urgent.
Neither are your wants.

That is how men and women could be stoned, cut in two, put to death, “being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. . . . All these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:37-40).

They found the truth of 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

These men and women dropped their emergency needs in the dirt at the foot of the cross and found His sufficiency meant everything.

Emergency spending? Not when I have a God Who is enough.

Displaying 1 comment

Just this past weekend we had an answer to prayer. We were getting very low on wood for our stove because February was so cold this year, then we get a call asking if we could use some wood. It was delivered, all cut, split, and dried out, ready to burn. What a blessing from God!
I'm trying to catch up on my emails, but SO far behind.

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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