Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bring God the First Fruits of Your Heart

Walking in the my grandfather's garden admiring the luscious heads of cabbage, enormous onion bulbs pushing their way out of the ground, sprouting beans, tall tomato plants, and lettuce leaves, I am reminded of the scripture where God tells the people of Israel to bring to Him the first fruits of the harvest. "The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God" (Exodus 34:26). God asked for nothing but the best. He wanted the people to remember where the blessings of such a harvest came from. Imagine the pride filled heart of the farmer as he plucked the first bright red tomato of the season from the vine. My grandfather says those are the best and sweetest of the crop. What devotion to swallow that sense of pride and satisfaction by bowing before God and giving it back to Him.

It's Day Four of the 21 day fast and the Lord continues to reveal to me areas in my heart that need to be weeded out as well as areas in need of extra nutrients for continued growth. Today, the area of my heart garden in need of attention is the act of praise and thanksgiving. I have much to be thankful for. God has blessed me beyond anything I could imagine, yet the day to day chores of life often block that praise and pull my spirit down into darkness. Complications come up, temptations cross the way, and last minute distractions push their way to the front of my heart. Before I realize it, I've become focused more one what needs to be done instead of what God has already done.

Through prayer and fasting; however, God is breaking through those barriers and filling my heart with joy and thanksgiving. He reminds me that when I come to Him with praise and thanks "the Light of [His] presence pours into [me], transforming [me] through and through" (Jesus Calling, p. 101). The things that need to be done are still there, but I am assured by God that they will get done in His timing and in His way. For the moment, I am in the garden with Him and I'm bringing Him the firstfruits of my heart.

"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD" (Psalm 116:17). At my former church, we used to sing a song of praise with the following lyrics:

We bring the sacrifice of praise
Into the house of the Lord
We bring the sacrifice of praise
Into the house of the Lord
And we offer up to You
The sacrifices of thanksgiving
And we offer up to You
The sacrifices of joy
 
We can bring God the firstfruits of our heart by offering to Him sacrifices of praise. We have so much to be thankful for that our hearts should be overflowing with joy and thanksgiving whether we think about it or not.



2 comments:

  1. Hi, Amanda. I just became a follower of your blog ;-) Thanks for the encourgaing thoughts and word. I'm trying to grow tomatoes right now. No fruit yet, but waiting!

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  2. Thanks for joining Heather! Yeah, I've got some tomato plants growing too but no fruit either. Keep me posted and I'll do the same :)

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