Religion of 2014-01-22

Comment: The power of the first fruits

The term “First Fruits” is widely used both in the Old and New testaments of the Bible. First fruits literally mean “the first benefits of a person’s endeavours” which can include the first part of one’s income. In biblical context (Old Testament) however, the term “first fruit” is a divine command and it’s recorded in Exodus 23:19 (AMP) and Deuteronomy 26:1-11 as the first of the first fruits of your ground, you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.
The term had to do with the produce of the land whether it is animals or crops; even first sons were offered (not as a sacrifice) but dedicated to the service of the Lord like in the case of Samuel, the prophet.
Today, the term is broadened to include the first part of one’s income, exclusive of tithes and offerings. The purpose of this biblical command was to “honor God” according to Proverbs chapter 3:9 “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruits of all your increase” (NKJV).
First fruits were offered to God, basically as a sign of acknowledging the lordship of God and his provision for you; an expression of dependence on the Lord God, trusting him to see you through the whole year.
In giving first fruits, you are the ultimate beneficiary. According to Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 4:17 (NIV) stated that “not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be accredited to your account” (Spiritual Account: emphasis mine) one cannot withdraw money from a bank account that he/she has not made any deposits. Spiritually, this practice signifies an avenue for withdrawal in times of need as espoused by the Apostle Paul.
Giving was seen as a fragrant offering in the sight of the Lord. In Paul’s submissions, “it is an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18 NIV).
When we offer our first fruits, we attract divine increase and overflow.
In Proverbs 3:10, the scripture states clearly that “so shall thy barns be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with new wine (KJV). In giving first fruits, you lay a foundation upon which your harvest will overflow.
The question then arises, “who was commanded to bring first fruits?” Nehemiah 10:34-37 NIV reads “we the priests, the Levites and the people have cast lots to determine when each of our families is to bring to the house of our God at set times each year a contribution of wood to burn on the altar of the LORD our God as it is written in the Law.” We also assumed responsibility for bringing to the house of the LORD each year the first fruits of our crops and of every fruit tree...” in a nutshell, first fruit was for everyone who believed the Lord had instructed him/her to do so.
We are commanded not to delay in offering the first of our ripe produce in Exodus 22:29-30 and asked by God to give it as soon as we come into the land the Lord our God has blessed us with. Can 2014 be your land? Could it be the business, marital, educational or financial breakthrough the Lord is bringing you in the year 2014?
The year 2014 was themed “Enlarge my territory” In perusing the scriptures, we have come to understand that God delights in the prosperity of his people and that “he wishes above all things that we prosper and be in good health even as our soul prospers”... Our daily confession therefore is for God to enlarge our territory, for confession brings possession.
In Deuteronomy 6:3, scripture admonishes us to be careful and to observe the instructions of the Lord that it may be well with us in the land the Lord our God is bringing us into. The import of this message is interlocked with the part we play in bringing out these blessings. In the above scripture, we are to observe carefully, ...suffice me to say then that, the Lord is locked up in a reciprocal relationship with mankind.
Giving in general, is an integral part of church and ministry but has triggered variety of theories; however, I believe it should not be done by compulsion but rather willingly by faith and through faith in the Lord. I encourage you to refuse to be a victim by witty personalities that present man-made doctrines to induce and inject fear and guilt into you and further pressurize or hypnotize you into giving.
Do not allow anyone to arm-twist you into giving. Give liberally when your faith is challenged like that of Abraham. In the Old covenant of law, the focus was on what you do to receive God’s blessings, however in the new covenant of grace, the focus is on what God has done to bless us in Christ.
I pray that, as you give your first fruits in faith unto the Lord in the year 2014, God will respond to you by activating His blessings in your life as mentioned in Proverbs 3:10, “then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine”.
Friends in the Lord, I encourage you to enlarge your Territory this year by engaging the principles set forth in His Word.
Rev. Dzifanu Agbenya. (aka The Messenger) Living Comfort Ministries, Chicago.
We are a non - denominational bible believing Church that meets at 4750 N Sheridan Rd. (3RD floor, Suite # 335) Our Sunday Worship Service begins at 9am and ends at 11:30am. Weekday Bible study is at 7pm-8:30pm and Friday Conquerors Prayer nights at 7:00pm-9:00pm.
On Air: Log on to legendtvonline.com and the Tune in App on your Smartphone to listen live broadcast of the Messenger, every Thursday from 2:30pm - 3:30pm CST. Join us also on Mondays at 8:30pm, Tuesday through Thursday mornings for online prayers from 5:00am -5:30am by calling 1-712-432-0075 Access Code: 400746#
Source: Mack O Larbi
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