Firstfruits

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Growing up, I was in and out of church for most of my life, and the concept of tithing and giving seemed to be something that I’ve always known about. But recently, God has been expanding my understanding of what it means to offer our firstfruits to Him.

Every morning when we wake up, we have a plethora of options before us that we can choose to do. We can: go on Facebook, check how many hearts our last picture received on Instagram, we can check out emails, check YouTube for new and interesting videos, we can check our text messages, use the bathroom, walk the dog, feed the fish, eat some cereal and the list keeps stacking higher and higher. So, what should the start of our day really look like?

“The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” Exodus 23:19

Let’s back up for a moment because I know many of you may be thinking, “What is a firstfruit and why is it important?” This term was largely used in biblical times when many of the people were farmers and received much of their wealth and income through agricultural living. At the time of harvest each year, before the Israelites did anything else, they were to take the firstfruits of their harvest, as an offering to the Lord, to the priest in the house of God as a sign of reverence and obedience to God. They gave the first of their increase back to God; they gave their best offering believing that in giving Him their best, He would supply the rest of what they needed for their households. According to ‘get.tithe.ly’,

“The Hebrew word for first fruit is bikkurim—literally translated to “promise to come.” The Israelites saw these first fruits as an investment into their future. God told them that if they brought their first fruits to Him, He would bless all that came afterword.”

So what does all of this have to do with how we begin our day? EVERYTHING!

I feel like I have had a love/hate relationship with early mornings for a long time; even more so now that I have not had a drop of coffee since the end of 2018. So early mornings minus hot, flavorful coffee equals no es bueno. But nevertheless, Christ seems to be pressing the wake-up button of my internal alarm clock more and more. It has been a fight, a struggle, and a wrestling match to say the least. It hasn’t been easy, I have rolled over many times, and have missed opportunities to spend the early hours of the day with the Lord without disturbance. But I am so grateful for His relentlessness because He seems to always be patiently awaiting my rise from slumber an hour later when the alarm clock on my desk begins to beep.

Thank You, Lord, for Your grace and new mercies daily!!!!

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking, “How does the start of my day have anything to do with a first fruit?”

“And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.” Deuteronomy 26:1-2

It is the first increase we receive each day, and it is the new land that He has brought us into. Sleep gives us renewed energy, it helps our brain cells function and get refreshed, it recharges to hold information, and a new day means new life, a new opportunity. God deserves the first portion of our day because He gave us another day to live, breathe, and move about in the world. He deserves our first portion because He is Lord!

It is in giving the first portion of our day, that we are able to fellowship with the Father, receive wisdom for the day, revelations of hidden things, be loved on and filled with love to give to others; we are set in order, given a new perceptive, receive new hope to continue, given wisdom to navigate life and the list goes on and on.

‘‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’’ Jeremiah 33:3

George Washington Carver credits his morning prayer walks with God to the multiple ways in which he learned how to utilize the peanut. He would ask God to reveal His mysteries to him, and God revealed to him over 300 ways to use the peanut. Years after the peanut mysteries were revealed to him, he asked God again, and God shared with him over 115 ways to utilize a sweet potato. How amazing is that?! This all came from offering to the Lord the firstfruits of his day.

It’s not easy to get up early, especially when you’re tired, studying for finals, have to go to work, tend to children, tend to your spouse, run errands, have late nights, feel exhausted, and the list goes on and on. But this is not something we have to create a habit with by ourselves, but do it with the Holy Spirit, our Helper. I have heard that one of the greatest prayers we can pray is, “Help me”. And the more we consistently lean on Him and not on ourselves,  the more it will become a habit and the easier it will become. And the more we do it, the more it becomes apart of our lifestyle, and then the desire for it will take root and grow more and more. To the point where we cannot see our lives without it.

There is such a beautiful closeness that is built during our time with the Lord. I am learning that if I am not willing to get up when He nudges me in those early hours of the morning, which I am fighting like ever to heed His voice when He calls, that even when the external alarm sounds in the atmosphere, I must still offer Him the first portion of my day through thanks and praise, and be still to listen as He speaks. And even after learning the story of the mysteries revealed to George Washington Carver, it charges my faith to seek the mysteries of God even more.

There is such a peace and joy in having the privilege, as we do, of being spoken to by our Creator. He never neglects us, even when we neglect Him. His faithfulness is unending.  

Thank You, Father!

To not give Him this portion of our day, sets us up to be out of order with the heart and desires of God. He is the Creator of our timelines and the Orchestrator of our days. So why would we not want to spend time with Him, learn from Him, learn about Him and fellowship with Him?

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:4

We are His representation in the earth, and He desires to lead us and teach us in His ways so that we will be polished images of Him in the earth. And when we are, it opens the door to share Christ with others. Slowing down, and changing the routines of our lives can be difficult, but it is worth it when it means drawing closer to Him and being led in the way of righteousness. This causes us to be pleasing to the Lord. He is worth more than the last few moments of our day or the car ride to work. He deserves the best part of our day, not just any ol’ portion of it.

Each day, God meets me in the morning; I have been late to the meetings many times, but I am thankful that He waits for me to catch up. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right away, He honors our efforts and patiently waits for us to catch up. We have to be honest with Him in our struggles, and let Him help us. He wants us to lean on Him more than ourselves. He is always speaking, but are we always willing to slow down and listen? No, and that has to change. He is always desiring to pour out His mysteries into willing vessels, but we have to be still in our hearts and minds and allow what He is pouring out to land within us. Because what He is pouring out is not just for us, but for the whole world to be directed back to Him

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:10

God Bless!

Excerpts in this blog were retrieved from get.tithe.ly and I do not own any copyrights to them. Information given on George Washington Carver was retrieved from http://www.truenorthquest.com and I do not own any copyrights to it. The bible verses were retrieved from bible.com and I do not own any copyrights to them.
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Lift Up Your Head in Hope

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“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Proverbs 13:12 NIV

We become weary with worry, sorrow, and despair when the fruition of our hopes and dreams become delayed according to our own timelines. Proverbs 13:12 has become one of my favorite passages to reflect on. It reveals to me the root of my despair when the wait seems long, but it also gives me great comfort. Comfort in knowing that as God fulfills my longings and leads me on the path He has ordered for my life, new strength of life will begin to spring up within me. It gives me an even greater reason not to throw in the towel, but to instead seek the Lord for strength to hold on as I wait patiently to see different hopes fulfilled.

In God’s word and in His presence we regain our joy in knowing that our hope has a purpose and we are refreshed in knowing that one day our hopes will be fulfilled. Not in our own timing, but in His alone because His timing is perfect and without blemish or delay.

As I read my bible yesterday, God’s Word fed my hope and brightened the eyes of my heart with joy. As I dug deep into the riches of His Truth, the whispers of the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to share scriptures that are a constant rekindling of my joy and hope in the promises the Lord has placed in my heart.  So, down below are some scriptures that I have written down in my journal for my own personal meditation and reflection in times of despair. I pray they bless you as they have me. I hope your head is lifted, and your heart smiles at the hope that the Lord has promised. God Bless.

Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”

Psalm 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”

Nahum 1:7 “ The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”

Psalm 139:9-10 “If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  

John 14:27 “ Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Colossians 3:14-15 “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Jeremiah 17:7  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14 “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

2 Chronicles 15:7 “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!”

Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.”

Psalm 103:1-5 “A Psalm of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Isaiah 40:27-31 “ Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

Romans 8:37-39 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”