(For those of you who read these early in the morning, i apologize for not getting it out last night. It just didn't feel quite finished AND i fell asleep before sending it. so.... here ya go!)
You know when your day kicks off at the "phunky griddle" in nashville it's gonna be a good one! Especially when i'm hanging with great company :) Again, today was filled with inspiring conversations and encouraging words- my heart is full.
Over gluten-free banana chocolate chip pancakes my beautiful friend and I chatted about some things God has been doing in our lives. Both of us had gone through a dark season and both have been brought through. You can see the freedom in her face and hear the humble confidence of her savior in her voice even as she sings. And boy this girl can rock out! One of the things we both agreed on, as are are very well aware we live in a competitive world: is that we can all co-exist together in ministry, building each other up and working together rather than using all of our efforts to get ahead (something she is passionate about). Also that if God places you on a platform, no man can tear you off- only God if He wills; but if you work and work to put yourself there... your platform becomes a pedestal and you are susceptible to falling by man or God. God will place you exactly where He wants you if you are willing and obedient.
All of this got me talking about "first fruits" today. One of the things God is highlighting to me during this whole 90 day challenge thing is that: IF I GIVE HIM MY FIRSTS, HE GIVES ME HIS BEST. It's pretty simple, and i think i've probably heard this before... but it's just now becoming a reality. It's wonderful actually. Let this sink in for a moment. What does that phrase in caps mean to you?
And if you really think about it... He gave us his firsts FIRST. Like... "we love because He FIRST loved us." (1 Jn 4:19) And... He gave us His only (first) Son. God created us first, loved us first, and sacrificed and died for us first. And sometimes I wonder how we still have entitlement issues. He did EVERYTHING first! Haha. One time I heard someone say that God will bless us for tithing to thank us for not stealing. Ha... I thought that was funny, and kind of true if we hold back huh?
One of the wise things my friend said over yummy pancakes was how if we don't hold back first thing, we are joyful and more generous in our giving. But if we wait till it's our last then it's harder to let go of. So perhaps it DOES have more to do with the heart than the actual action? I've also been thinking back of all those times I was ok with giving God my left-overs (as I sit there and push around the last bite of pancake with my fork). The funny thing is... we are actually MORE full if we give with little or no knowledge of what we'll have left for ourselves!!!
Anyway, this is what I've been experiencing over the last several months. Keep in mind, I'm learning as well... I'm not a bible scholar and I have not done extensive research on this. I just pray that what I say aligns with the heart of God. Nothing i say is intentionally for my benefit, but only to bring Him glory.
With that said... I came back from New Zealand in May with a "to do" list, a list of my needs, and some of my wants thrown in there too. There were many things on these lists that ranged from running shoes, an art show, a fair-trade organic coffeeshop, teeth cleaning, a scooter, good friends in jonesboro, a nice pool to swim in for the summer, studio space to work in, make-up (bc i was running out), and some business so I could tent-make for missions. So, here I had my lists (and I'm sure there was much more). But I looked at my extensive to do list and thought to myself how insane it would be to actually get these done. I looked at my needs thinking that I don't even have a fraction of what I need to pay for these things. (One of my rules for the last few years has been: if i have a need i write it down and give it to God, then i wait. I won't let myself buy it unless I have a complete peace... but almost every single time God has provided that thing for me and then it's even MORE of a blessing!!!) A few weeks later is when I decided to start this challenge. Every morning started off dedicated to him for a few hours. And let me tell you... It's been crazy to see how much God has accomplished! I could go in to detail, but every single one of those NEEDS written above have been answered in the most amazing ways and i didn't pay a penny for them. I'm telling you, God is very good. He does want to give us His absolute BEST. We are His kidos!!! Don't you want the best for your kids? Well... when they're not fighting at least. Haha.
B90: (2 Sam 2- 2 Sam 14: 33) When God places you in a position as you follow His lead, obey, and serve along the way... You can rest securely that you can do whatever He's called you to in that place because you know how much you desperately need HIM to do it. Another thing i'm learning is that it's not about the actual PLACE we are in as much as it's about seeking His FACE. To me, David was a good example of this. Yea, he did some stupid things... but He was a man after God's heart. Not that David even needed it, but God always promoted Him. I love in Ch. 3 vs 1, where it says "David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker." And again in Ch. 5 vs 10, "David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him." Because David obeyed every step, God was building Him up and giving David His BEST.
In the verse directly after it's interesting to see how God brought everything David needed for a house. He was providing for His son. And His son knew His Father and no doubt His Father's heart for the world.
"And David knew that the Lord had established him King over Israel and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel." (5:12)
Now, we dance before the Lord with all our might because He is good! (6:14)