TITLE: The Windows of Heaven
By Kathleen Tollifson
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It was an ordinary day, full of routine chores and other projects. About mid-day I was surprised to hear a voice in my heart softly proclaim that “nobody ever gives me anything!” It got my attention! I was curious, is that true? Nobody ever gives me anything? My first instinct was to agree, remembering my Dad’s speech about college tuition. “If you really want to go, you will find a way to pay for it….”
But there was also the voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me of His generosity. He pointed out that He had given me good and perfect gifts without me even asking for them. He seemed a little hurt that possibly I had forgotten his steadfast care. His argument was pretty convincing!
I thought of my best friend, and all the gifts she has given me over the years. I tried to remember if I had received them graciously, valuing them for what they were – tokens of her love. Suddenly I was remembering lots of gifts from others in my life. I sure have gotten a lot of stuff for someone who “never gets anything”! I realized that my judgment was wrong, and I asked the Lord to heal my heart. Heaven had its way, and I was free!
I was feeling good about nailing that troublesome judgment, and I began thinking of all the gifts that would no doubt be coming my way soon. I was getting a head start on being grateful for them. I have always believed that “the secret to happiness is being easy to please”. As I thought this over, it occurred to me that maybe I had been TOO EASY to please. After all, I don’t need diamonds or furs or fast cars to be happy. I don’t need a vacation in Costa Rica either, but it sure would be nice!
The Holy Spirit began talking to me again, reminding me that when I made that judgment about nobody giving me anything, I had also made a compensating vow. Faced with a world of stingy, uncaring people, I had bravely declared that I did not NEED anyone to give me anything! I would get what I needed for myself! Looking back on my life, I was not sure that had been the wisest choice.
As I mulled this over, I realized that the decisions my heart had made as a child were not necessarily true. Not only that, they had been influencing my choices and feelings for way too long. No wonder I seemed to always end up in the same spot! I had been making the same rotten choices over and over. Kind of embarrassing for a bright gal like me.
About that time I started hearing the words “open the windows of heaven”. It sounded so sweet, and I thought I could feel a soft wind blowing. Still, it was a while before I looked into it. I knew that those windows were located in Malachi Chapter 3, and I was not in the mood for a tithing sermon! Instead, I reminded myself of what a cheerful giver I am. But He was persistent. The Holy Spirit I mean. He kept whispering to me about those windows.
So, I relented and opened my Power Bible software. I went to Malachi, where I knew those windows of heaven were waiting. But that day the prophet was talking to me about more than my money. He was talking about my heart. And I could sense that my heart was changing.
As I studied the scriptures, I saw things in Malachi that I had not noticed before. First, I realized that God isn't as concerned about His people withholding their money from Him as He is about their hearts being separate from His. He says that even when we give the tithe, if our hearts are not in agreement with His, it does not please Him. The Family Bible Notes comment “All that we have and are belongs to God. When we withhold from him our full love and obedience, we are living in the practice of robbery...“
I was thinking “I have withheld my trust”. I knew it was true. And maybe, just maybe, my First Love was not burning as hot as it used to. Things started shifting in me. My cynical attitude disappeared, replaced by a passion and fervor that I hadn’t felt in a long time! Malachi 3:2 says “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:”(NASB) I for one, plan on standing before my King! And hopefully I will have applied enough of the fuller's soap to the issues of my soul, that my life will be a pleasing sacrifice to Him.
The windows of Heaven opened in my life that day! My happiness and contentment, even whether or not I have that elusive thing ENOUGH, depends not on the state of my checking account, but on the condition of my heart.
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