Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tithing Brings Peace

                    The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that obedience to God's commandments always brings blessings.  Obedience to the commandment to give a tenth of our income to the Lord does not make sense to many people, especially to those who place great value on wealth.   In the words of Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  "Those who place their faith in the Lord's promises say, `I can't afford not to pay tithing.'"  (See Oaks, "Tithing," Ensign, May 1994, 34.)

                    The prophet Malachi taught, "Will a man rob God?  Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.
                    "Ye are cursed with a curse:  for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
                    "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."  (See Malachi 3:8-10.)

                    My husband and I recently met with our Bishop in tithing settlement.  The reason for this meeting is to report to the Lord's representative that we had paid a full ten percent of our income for 2011 in tithes to the Lord.  Attendance at tithing settlement is an annual event.  In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories was attending tithing settlement with my parents.

                    Paying tithes and offerings has opened the windows of heaven for my family - both immediate and extended.  In more than forty-four years of marriage my husband and I have never worried about where our next meal would come from or how to pay our bills.  Although we are not independently wealthy, we have always had enough to meet our needs as well as some to spare. 

                    I learned in childhood that obedience to the law of tithing would open the windows of heaven.  Within weeks after my parents married, the Great Depression began.  They had little to eat except the peaches they bottled and homemade bread.  They were down to their last $10.00.  They knew that if they paid their tithing, they would have no money to meet their needs, but they paid their tithing with faith in the Lord's promises.  Not long after they paid their tithing, a man came along and asked if they had any hay to sell.  He bought a load of hay from my parents and provided a way for them to meet their needs.  You may consider this to be a coincidence.  I do not believe in coincidences.  I believe it was a true blessing from God for their obedience.

                    Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, "Do you want the windows of heaven opened to you?  Do you wish to receive blessings so great there is not room enough to receive them?  Always pay your tithing and leave the outcome in the hands of the Lord."  (See "Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts," Ensign, May 2004, 41.

                    Thousands and even millions of people all over the world have learned that being obedient to the law of tithing brings blessings.  Prophets and even financial gurus like Dave Ramsey counsel people to pay their tithing first.

                    In an article in the Ensign, December 2011, Breanna Olaveson wrote about five members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who made tithing a priority and saw the heavens open in their behalf.  A sister in Western Australia said that her family is "considered a low-income family, but only in the eyes of the world…. Yet somehow, we are always able to pay the bills."  It seems to her that food specials and low gasoline prices always happen just when her family needs them.

                    A brother in Florida, USA, "made tithing a priority and saw the blessings."  It became more challenging when he lost his job.  They lived on the pay from odd jobs while he searched for new employment.  "… each month as we drew up our budget, we could not see how we would make it…. At times it was tempting to use our tithing for bills or groceries, but we trusted in the Lord and submitted the tithing to our bishop instead.  And each month the Lord provided for us in ways we had not foreseen…."

                    A couple in Texas, USA, "learned that blessings from tithing can come as both direct and indirect answers to prayers.  The [family] needed expensive medical treatments to have children, and they learned that paying tithing brings blessings that can last forever."  The couple could not afford the necessary medical treatments, but they "fasted, prayed, and continued to pay a full tithe" instead of using the money towards the treatments.   "Though we couldn't explain it, we found we had more money in our bank account than we thought.  We were truly blessed by paying our tithing." 

                    Blessings can come suddenly and openly or quietly.  A family in New Zealand boarded a university student who suddenly decided to leave.  The family worried about the loss of income but always had enough money to meet their needs.  "Without the money for board … we budgeted our money, avoided debt, and always paid a full tithe.  To this day, I have not figured out where the extra money came from every week."

                    A couple in Texas thought that they could not afford to pay tithing.  Then they were transferred to Hawaii where they faced higher living expenses with the same pay.  They also faced additional trials.  They still struggled with the decision to pay tithing and were "nudged" by the Lord.  Each trial was difficult, but the couple "made the effort to faithfully pay their tithing."  "Sometimes the Lord tests us, but He always keeps His promises.  We learned that if we keep the law, the reward is sure."

                    The Lord does not promise wealth if we pay tithing.  He promises that the "windows of heaven" will open and He will "pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."  I know by personal experience that this is true!


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