How is God Teaching me?
Often times on our Praying Pelican Missions trips, we (staff) tell our teams that they can feel free to leave any donations at the end of the week to the local church. The local church then distributes those donations to the local community as each has need. One comment I often hear is the following:
“Man I wish I knew we could do that. I would have brought my old shoes to give away. I can’t leave these. These are my nice shoes.”
Granted these comments are few and far between BUT I have heard them and it got me thinking. God doesn’t want our old shoes. He wants our new shoes.
“The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” – Exodus 23:19
The Lord doesn’t want our old shoes. He wants our new shoes! The concept of first fruits was established in OT (Old Testament) times for the farming based Israelites to offer God their first products of their harvests or animals to God. A test of faith. When they trusted God with their first then they believed in God and KNEW that He would take care of the rest! It didn’t just apply to crop harvests….
“God spoke to Moses ‘Consecrate every first born to me – the first one to come from the womb among the Israelites, whether person or animal is mine” – Exodus 13:2 – The Message
The first BORN. Not just the first FRUITS were the Lord’s. This was livelihood for God’s people, literally it was food or family. And God required that of them and requires FIRST FRUITS from me…from you…from us.
“And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance.” Colossians 3:22 – The Message
God asks that we offer him our first and our best. Our best in work. Our best and first in pay (tithe / offering). Our best in first in TIME.
The Lord has shown this to me loud and clear this week as I led a trip of individuals pouring out their best, their first fruit to the local church in Belize City. I was blessed to serve alongside of true servants of the Lord who grasped that giving God their best would result in Him renewing them, restoring them and rewarding them and I didn’t do the same.
Each night I got to bed late and each day I woke up early and I didn’t spend time with the Lord. I didn’t give God the first fruits of my time. I didn’t give him my best. I kept putting it off and waiting for a time that was better for me, when I wasn’t too tired. I relied on excuses like “He needs me rested to lead this team” or “I have to be on my game.” Instead, I should have offered God my best, my first fruit of time of the day and let Him do the rest.
My challenge to me, to you, to us: Let’s examine our lives.
- Where are we offering God our first fruits? Let’s celebrate those and celebrate how God has been faithful.
- Where are we NOT offering God our first fruits? Is it financially? Is it in how we work? Is it in how we love our family? Is it in how we spend time with Him? Let’s refocus and shift. The thing about God is, if we do our part and obey then God does his part and blows us away with his faithfulness.
God doesn’t want our old shoes. He wants our new shoes.
I had the tremendous opportunity to lead a return team to a church in Belize City. It was a fantastic week of ministry. We did Vacation Bible School at the Orphanage in Belize City and the church simultaneously, ministered to over 600 kids at 3 different schools, and met the physical needs of over 10 families. More importantly, 5 people surrendered their lives to Christ during the trip WHICH NEVER GETS OLD! Praise God! I love my job! It is a true blessing to watch life-change happen directly in front of me! Thank you for partnering in that!
- Birthday – Jojo turned 2 years old! What an amazing little man, full of life and love for ALL people and a HUGE servant’s heart!
- Schools – Amy and I are in the process of investigating schools for Madeline and Jojo for next year. The school in the village may change management and Amy and I are looking into potential schools in Belize City. Also Madeline rode the school bus by herself for the first time ever today! I (Josh) cried.
- Ladies Night – We (Amy) is hosting ladies night for our church on Saturday night. Amy is excited for this time of fellowship and playing Just Dance on the Wii!!
- Youth Ministry – One of the youth came over on Monday to use the internet and do homework (Note: why the schools require computer work for the kids and don’t offer computer time when they know kids can’t afford food much less internet at home or an internet cafe is beyond me! Amy would like to give some teachers a piece of her mind). Anyway, the youth came over, got some good food and had a nice relaxing time doing homework. It was great to be able to love on this youth!
Praises / Prayer Requests:
- Praise – 5 people received Christ last week during the trip I led! Praise GOD!!!
- Praise – The trip was life-changing for our staff, the church, and the team! Praise God!
- Prayer Request – The team as they transfer back to “normal life”. Pray specifically that this mission trip is not the peak of their spiritual walk but rather a launching point for new heights!
- Prayer Request – Wisdom and discernment as Amy and I weigh all our options for schools for Madeline and Jojo next year.
- Prayer Request – Youth, C, and her family. They need to be lifted up for healing, emotional, and provision
- Prayer Request – Ladies night that it would be a great time of fellowship specifically for Amy.
Thank you for praying. Thank you for loving. Thank you reading. We love you all. And we continue to pray for you all as we together realize that God doesn’t want our old shoes and wants our new shoes.
Where are you going to work on giving God your first fruits this week?
– All our love